Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Turn

Flying scares me. 

I do frequent the friendly skies, but a favorite hobby it is not.  Because my family lives far away, flying is a necessary part of my life.  So, I've developed little rituals to help ease my nerves.  As I board the aircraft, I touch the outside of the plane and try to meet the pilot's gaze. "Good luck. I support you," I say with my eyes. This randomly brings me some measure of comfort.

I'm not proud of my weird, but there it is.

I'm prone to motion sickness and also A GIANT METAL TUBE WEIGHING THOUSANDS OF TONS SOMEHOW LIFTS INTO THE SKY.  By the grace of God I managed a 'B' in Physics, but for the life of me I cannot understand how air travel works.  Something to do with letters, numbers, and triangles.

On Saturday night I was flying home to Virginia from Kentucky.  The older gentleman seated next to me seemed nervous.  He fumbled around for the seat belt before buckling.  As others popped in earbuds, he listened carefully to safety instructions.  Poor fellow was scared to death.

He seemed to settle a bit, but then we hit some turbulence.  He held on to the tray table like a life preserver.  I looked at him and smiled politely.  He deadpanned "I do not prefer air travel."  He looked away.  I tried to exude calm.

When the turbulence died down we began to chat. I learned this was his first flight.  He had taken the train to see his son, but circumstances necessitated a flight home.  He talked.  I listened.  Later, when his hands began to tremble I tried to reassure and support. 

It was my turn to be strong for someone else.

Being strong for someone else is not easy; especially when we have the same fears or doubts or worries.  Some may wonder if being strong for someone else is inauthentic, but I don't think it is. 

Being strong for someone else doesn't mean lying about fears or doubts or worries: It simply means giving support, strength, and calm as gift to someone else.  It's not always about me.  It's not always about you.

Sometimes it's our turn to be strong for someone else.