Since FLYING is on my mind, I thought I'd share a Life Lesson gained years ago when I was taking flying lessons in the early 1990's.
The flight instructor spent more time on the topic of safety than any other, such as aerodynamics or the FAA regulations. One day he took me up to teach about stalls (when the airplane stops flying and falls out of the sky.) That is, he wanted to teach me how to recover in a stall.
The Cessna in the above photo is very similar to the one I trained in. At about 2000 feet elevation, he had me pull back on the wheel to gain altitude. I was tentative at first, but he insisted, "Harder!"
As the number on the altimeter increased, I cast worried eyes toward the ground- houses and cars were becoming smaller and smaller. Pulling back on the wheel went against every cell in my body that was in support of my living. The plan to intentionally make the plane fall out of the sky was illogical.
"Can I stop pulling now?" I asked nervously.
"Keep at it."
"How will I know when it stalls?"
"You will feel the plane shudder."
"You've got my back on this, right? In case I can't do this?"
"Sure. Just keep pulling back on the wheel."
"What am I supposed to do when it shudders?" I asked as we neared 4000 feet.
"Let go and watch the nose. One of the best things about this plane is it's designed to recover from a stall. The nose is heavier, so in a stall, the tip of the nose will naturally go down. The plane will gain air speed and level out. If you react normally, by pulling back hard, you will increase stall conditions and crash."
I had a few seconds to process this information. "That's a lot to put trust in..." I whispered to myself.
The plane shuddered. I felt it begin to drop.
"Let go," my instructor reminded me.
I complied but everything, I mean EVERYTHING in my mind was insisting I fight this by pulling hard on the wheel. I didn't touch the wheel, but I tried to discretely hold my hands one inch away so I could grab it when I needed to.
"Put your hands down," he suggested.
"You've got this, right?"
However, just as the instructor said, the front of the plane dropped. We picked up air speed and the plane leveled out- without my doing a thing. Then he said to take the wheel, "Let's do that again."
I was amazed. We practiced stalls for the rest of the hour. I was impressed with the plane's ability to recover without my help. And my confidence in the design grew immensely.
That evening, I sat on the porch reflecting on the day's adventure, then began to laugh. "How many times when I've faced a problem, I've been told to 'Let Go and Let God?'" I asked myself.
When something troubles me, I grip even tighter, thinking my controlling the outcome will provide the solution, fix the problem, solve the dilemma- and all will be well. The idea of letting go sounded nice, but how could I do that? Anything I had ever let go of had my claw marks on it.
It came to me that I was designed to recover from a "stall" in life by letting go and letting God work things out. My holding on so tightly is out of fear that things won't go my way. But I can say, when I practice that Life Lesson learned in a plane:
Things rarely go my way when I trust The Designer. They end up better, and I don't have to crash.
Let Go and Let God. It's a good thing.
A 50-something woman comes home to a place she's never been before.