As most of you know, due to my line of work, I have traveled a great deal in my life. Flying to several locations within a week is “normal” for me. I really don’t think about being up in the air, or the danger that could occur…it’s just a mode of transportation for me. However, I am always aware that we could go down in a fireball at a moment’s notice. I can’t live my life focusing on, or fearing that moment…I would be worried all of the time, and not be able to work at all. Throughout the years, I have had some “close” calls, and this week’s story involves one such time.
Years ago, when I first started my career, I consulted numerous nursing facilities in south Louisiana. There was only one airline that flew to the smaller cities in the state, and its name was Royale Airlines. The plane could seat approximately 12 people, and you could NOT stand up…the ceiling was too low.
On this particular trip, the plane was full, and the forecast was for “bumpy weather.” Now, let’s remember that this was a little prop plane, not a jet. The weather was so terrible that we actually flew into a tornado. We were too far out to turn back to the airport, so the only hope was for us to fly directly through the tornado. The plane jerked, bumped, lost altitude, turned sideways…you name it, we did it! I was past the prayer of “Please, dear God, don’t let us crash.” I knew we were! I began praying, “Dear Lord, please let me have a heart attack before we crash!” Seriously!! My faith has always been one of the strongest aspects of my daily life, and during all of the mayhem, I began very quietly singing to myself, “Why should I feel discouraged? Why should shadows fall? Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me…” I felt the most immediate calmness take over, and I was no longer afraid. We did manage to land, and we all kissed the pilot when our feet touched solid ground. And, of course, I was very thankful to God for having “watched over me.”
Fast forward 35 years later…it was my turn to stay with Mother at the nursing home as she lay dying. The facility received notice of a tornado warning, which meant they had to move every bed out of every room into the hallway. The staff performed like a well-oiled machine; they knew exactly what to do. So I was sitting by my Mother, on her bed, and she, along with several other residents beside us in the hallway, were a little restless and “fretful.” I was sitting there thinking what could I do to make things better, and then, it came to me…that memory from long ago. I began singing to my Mother “His Eye is on the Sparrow…” She calmed down immediately, as did the other residents around her. We came through the tornado warning safe and sound, just like 35 years ago.
When people ask me if I ever get scared flying, I always say, “No!” I visualize God’s hands under every plane that I fly on, carrying me safely to my destination. I truly believe those words, “…and I KNOW He watches me.” This week I am going to focus strongly on those words, have faith, and believe that He IS taking care of me, and is always there for me. Won’t you join me? Just for this week…