Last Sunday evening I flew from Addison, TX to Oklahoma City, OK and then on to Denver, CO. Talk about a long trip! I took a small plane instead of a Bonanza so it took longer, but built a lot of hours for less money.
On my way back the next day the winds had changed significantly from the forecast from earlier that day. It allowed me to take off safely from the airstrip but instead of shifting to be out of the west they continued to blow very strong and gusting heavily from the south.
The winds made the entire flight back to Oklahoma City an exhausting and very, very long flight. I was at first attempting to maintain a specific altitude, however there were so many updrafts and downdrafts that it soon became very obvious I couldn’t maintain a specific altitude. My plane simply couldn’t out climb the downdrafts so even though the plane was “pointed up” it was heading down. I ended up riding the waves instead, allowing myself to descend 1,500 feet and then regain it on updrafts, it was much less tiring that way. The trip was so long, in fact, that I had to stop to refuel before getting there. When I landed the winds were howling down the strip. The experience was very much like being on a rough sea, with longer, invisible waves, pushing you up and forward as it passes you and then rushing down the other side of the wave again.
All that rough weather made me think about how we sometimes live our lives, trying to control the direction, attitude, every little detail, “wrestled into perfection.” It leaves us exhausted, sapped of strength, and STILL unable to control things, unable to “maintain the altitude” we set for ourselves.
Nothing shows us our faults and the need to cling to God and His plan for us than having turbulence in our life. Turbulence builds character, turbulence builds strength, turbulence teaches us to “rest” in God through the ups and downs, making adjustments when we need to, but relying on him to navigate the waves for us.
I learned a lot from this trip; a lot about flying near mountains, over rough terrain at lower altitudes, landing and taking off at high altitudes, navigating in turbulence while not losing my lunch, but most of all it gave me time to talk to and listen to God, to think about and pray for my family, and to take a hard look at my own life and attitudes.
Thank you all for your continued prayers, friendship and support.