Paris, Puerto Rico, Dubai, Belize, and Cuba are just a few places I’ve been. I have this theory that since my mother and father met as travel agents, that my love for travel was somehow in my blood. lol I love traveling so much that I sought after a group of like minded people who share this same love and became a member of a travel group called Nomadness.
Interestingly enough, somehow my fear of flying started to become more apparent around the same time I became a member. It’s not something a lot of people know and it’s probably something no one would believe from the outside looking in, but it’s true!
My fear became undeniable three years ago when I was coming back from Abu Dhabi on a huge group trip ( 100+ people met up) and I was traveling back with a friend (who I met through the travel group). The turbulence was so bad that I made the flight attendant grab my friend from the front of the airplane to come sit with me in the back because the turbulence was freaking me out! Embarrassed wasn’t even the word for how it made me feel to know (my 29 year old self at the time) needed someone to come sit with me. Lol I know my friend was probably thinking “I know she is not afraid of flying when we are in a TRAVEL group!” But she sat with me anyways , we didn’t say much to each other (probably to avoid the elephant in the room lol) but we made it back home safely.
Fast forward to 2018, as I was preparing for a domestic flight over the weekend, a rush of fear hit me again as I began to think of death. I found myself looking into how I could either prolong my trip to a later date or cancel my trip altogether. I began formulating in my head excuses to friends on the reasoning of why my trip would need to be rescheduled. That’s when I knew my fear was growing out of control. So I told myself enough was enough, that I would no longer live in fear and started to journal and brainstorm where on earth did this fear come from?! This was getting ridiculous !
Through writing, it hit me! I believe the fear of flying planted its seed in me when my favorite r&b singer Aaliyah died from a plane crash back in 2001. (This was the first person who introduced me to the idea of a sudden tragic death). I remember thinking, “man, she was a beautiful woman, had things going for herself, talented, was in a loving relationship”… to me she was just getting started on the impact she was making in the world. When her movie The Queen of the Dammed came out after her death— there was a sprinkle of negative chatter about her life and the things she was into that wasn’t very “christian”.
And so the scripture, for the wages of sin is death, would always come to mind when I would fly. So I equated death as a punishment of something maybe we did behind closed doors that finally caught up with us. Aaliyah’s death also made me recognize that no one was exempt from death. So when someone would tell me, oh you’ll be fine nothing will happen to you on a plane! The statistics of a plane crashing is one in a million… (oddly enough Aaliyah also had a album called 1 in a million, but i digress), I would think, “why couldn’t it happen to me if it happened to Aaliyah?!”
Lord knows I try my best to please Him and live in His will, to share my testimony to the world on how He has been working in my life, to try to be a good friend/ sister/daughter/cousin, to listen to God before I make any life changing moves, but naturally there have been plenty of times I did not listen. Plenty of times I needed to repent even when God told me not to do things but did it anyway. By being on a plane, it forced me to: replay all the bad choices I had made, to think about what legacy I would leave behind if I died, and to think about what things I could have been doing more of. I found myself even bargaining with God, that if he gets me to my destination safely I would change this or that in my life. Lol
What’s interesting is that in the air is the only place I talk to God the most, nonstop. I talk to Him about my concerns, fears, but most importantly my gratitude for allowing me to see another continent or to be able to share a new experience with friends or family. On the plane is also a place where I am just in awe of His creation, as I am able to look down from the window seat to see the manifestation of Genesis 1:1-25.
The question I tend to ask the most is, How else can I serve you Lord, …when I land?
But lately, I have been led to scan the plane and see people who look just as fearful as I feel. I realized that I was so focused on doing Gods work AFTER he blessed me with a safe landing, that I was missing the real opportunity to serve DURING the journey and that was to pray for people on the plane. Here you have people from all walks of life being forced to sit uncomfortably together but have the same destination as I. Some may get off on a different stop but the journey to get there together is the same. That really spoke to how things are in life. How we all have different view points, dealing with different vices, fears, illnesses or diagnoses, career paths but we are all just trying to make it in this thing we call life.
Life. That word was becoming more and more powerful over the idea of death. Proverbs 18:21 says, The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Overtime I began to gradually love to speak life for and to everyone on the plane more throughout my prayers. Praying for their protection. Praying for the pilot. Praying that if anyone was suicidal that God would shift their perspective right there on that plane. Starting conversations, sharing books I’ve read. My prayers became less about me and more about them. Praying for others was becoming a powerful tool to ease my own anxiety and fears. Even being able to identify the root of my fear gave me more insight on how I should pray for myself.
It also showed me that the very scripture I was using to torment myself in Romans 6:23 that says, “ for the wages of sin is death” , that same verse continues to say “ BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So yes, we all will die at some point (and being with God eternally should not be nothing to fear). However, living in fear is not what God predestined for You or me. Fear can prevent you from the very thing God had assigned you to do or heal you from. So take solice in knowing you are not a lone on your journey, that someone is praying for you whether you know it or not, live life abundantly and that Above all, love others deeply, as love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).