Many years ago, my husband and I had the good fortune to visit Hawaii. Just the two of us. I’ve never liked to fly but my husband convinced me it was the opportunity of a lifetime so I bolstered my courage, packed my bags, found a reputable baby sitter (mother-in-law), kissed my young children good-bye and headed out with my husband for what was to be a wonderful experience. I told you about it in depth a while back. Click here to refresh your memory.
We had a wonderful week in Hawaii. It will remain, forever, on my memory’s list of “The Happiest Times of My Life,” but, unfortunately, the trip back on the plane will also never be forgotten! It will always occupy the list on the other side labeled, “Most Frightening Times of My Life.”
As I watched coffee spill and unidentified objects roll out from under seats, I sat rigid listening to the captain on the intercom, “We’re experiencing a little turbulence,” and was sure I’d never see my children again! I prayed for hours that the turbulence would subside and that we’d get home safely. But when I saw no improvement within a reasonable length of time, I took drastic measures: I started bargaining with God! I said, “Dear Lord, if you let me walk off this plane and get my feet on the ground once more, I promise, I will never go up in another one!”
I’m sure He heard me because it wasn’t long after I made the pledge that the captain announced that we were about ready to land in Dayton, which is where we had departed from, leaving our car there. Walking off the plane, hands clammy and knees still knocking, I was so happy I wanted to fall down and kiss the ground!
However, I maintained my dignity, went with my husband to claim our baggage and finally, with a couple of friends who wanted to ride home with us, we found our car and headed for home – on the ground! As much as I’d enjoyed Hawaii, it was wonderful to be home!
Now, here’s the problem. As I said, many years have passed since that trip and the horrible fear of dying in a plane crash and never seeing my children again. I haven’t flown since; haven’t even been tempted. Until now.
Those of you who read my book, Somewhere in Heaven My Mother is Smiling will, no doubt, remember my friend, Carol. I wrote much about our lifelong friendship. Well, the time has come for me to visit her, as I promised her I would shortly after her husband died. It’s more than a twelve hour drive. Doing that is a little impractical since we’re both anxious for me to get there and it wouldn’t be exactly safe for me to travel that far alone. But the biggest factor is that if I fly, I could be there in a little less than two hours! What a difference!
“So what’s the problem?” you say.
Think back to that promise I made all those years ago. To God! Oh my!
I have literally lost sleep trying to make this decision; I’ve talked to several members of my family and friends. As you might expect, they all have a different answer. My daughter says, “Everyone says that when they’re on a rough flight. I do it every time! Book the flight and go. It’ll do you good!”
My friend, who is a devout Christian says, “Don’t put that on me! Do you know how bad I’d feel if I told you to go and then that plane went down?” I’m thinking, “Thanks a lot for your help.” I think that was her way of telling me I'd be crazy not to honor that promise. I feel worse!
My husband won’t say a word – probably for the same reason. Carol is calling every day to ask if I’ve made my reservations yet.
I explained it all to her and she said, “Peggy, God does not hold us to promises we make when we’re scared to death for our lives. He’s an understanding God.” I asked her how she’d feel if she talked me into it and the worst happened. Her answer, “I’d just say, ‘It was meant to be.’” (Screaming!) One thing Carol and I disagree on – Predestination! But that’s another blog; another time.
I welcome your input. Do I keep the promise I made to God many years ago and just say “No,” to my friend, or do I keep my promise to my lifelong friend and get on a plane with the attitude that God understands and everything will be fine?