Friday, February 23, 2007

My Fear of Flying

Ok. So, I have a huge, huge fear of flying. And I have issues with the fact that I have issues with flying..I don't like having the fear of it. I mean, I have some memorable horror stories of flights I have been on, but I also break out into a cold sweat even when the plane is just leveling out!!

Flying is by far my biggest fear and I have made it a point to search out the fear and deal with it. Here are some observations: I like to control (and I know this isn't godly). I understand fundamentally that a person has a greater chance of dying in a car crash than a plane crash, yet I have never hesitated getting behind the wheel. There is a sense of control there. When in a plane however, all seeming control is out of my hands. Next, when a plane "fails", that's it...the chance of surviving is slim to none. The fatal element of crashing in a plane is reality. Finally, knowing when you are going to die. Personally, I am very content to never know when I am going to die...having to stare that reality in its face in the midst of a tragedy on a plane is a little discomforting to me.

Recently, I have gotten better with flying. I still have issues, but it doesn't lead me to take drugs to fall asleep on planes and I have never gotten sick. But, its recently become a bigger issue for me again. You see, I live in a country that has "shaky" airplanes to say the least. One time, they flew a commercial plane into a mountain because they ran out of fuel..I mean, who does that? But all of this said, I feel that although fearing things may have some validity, unhealthy fear has no place in a Believer's walk...this is an unhealthy fear....I mean I have no problem walking the streets of this dangerous country I reside in and I could fear, what's the issue here?

My confession. I need your input, your help. One of my friends here says, "Its a win-win situation if your plane goes down." And I believe that, but for some reason I can't grasp that. Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions/etc.? Am I a control freak? Is it because I don't feel I'm ready to die? But, shouldn't all Believers be ready to die, not being attached to this world....What do you think?


Anonymous said...

How unbelievabley timely this is! I have been staring at my computer for two days watching the evolving weather report across the country as I am bleakly attempting to ready myself for my flight tomorrow. . . I have no words of wisdom for you, as above all else, I fear the EXACT same thing. And have for years...

Here's an added bonus (insert sarcasm): I am flying privately. I've flown with this crew before. On this very plane before. More than once. In fact, the last time I flew with them (in Dec.), I was encouraged to sit in the jump seat in the cockpit and talk to the pilot/copilot before and during takeoff. EVERYONE thought this would "cure" me. "Learn to Fly," they said.

The sad, sad truth ~ not only did it NOT cure me - it CEMENTED in my mind that this fear is a legit and valid one. I mean, crimonitely, they spend half their time talking about what the will do in the event of "a,b,c..." emergency!!! Oh, and believe you me, there are some I learned about that day that I NEVER would have come up with on my own!!! Control, you say? Yes. I say. Control yourself enough to not get on the plane!

So, tomorrow - I will be traveling in a blizzard, after maybe one hours sleep, heart pounding, hands sweaty (btw~ just writing this has me in a tizzy), legs restless, and frantically checking the World Clock to see if, in fact it is "Noon Somewhere"! ;)

All this coming from a well practiced Developmental Psychology major ~ bummer.

My advice: Build Bridges. Figuratively and Literally . . . and let me drrrrriiiiiiivvvvvveee!!

Sorry, my friend. This time, I am of little help. Maybe someone you know will comment and cure us both!

Wish me luck tomorrow... and if I don't make it home, you can have my secret stash of Carrie Underpants pictures. ;)~

P.S. More fuel for the fire, somtimes even the Air Traffic Controllers think its safer to drive, as noted in this brief communicay:

** A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down. San Jose Tower noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport." **


Roger Fankhauser said...

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say you are a control freak, but I came to the same conclusion about why I don't like to fly: I don't have any (perceived!!)control, and I don't really know what's going on.

As for me, I have thought about death some (we are going through the last days of a very special lady in our church, so it's on my mind more than usual), and what I decided was that I did not fear death, per se, but the uncertainty of the process. Planes crashes, because of the type of accidents they have and the press coverage they receive when they do crash, communicate, "this is going to be a ainful, horrible way to die". I don't know that, but I perceive that. Why I don't have those same thoughts about other forms of death is something I haven't figured out - unless it's due to the magnitude of the accident, which has imprinted a more fearful picture of death from a plane crash than from a car accident (or an irate passer-by!).

Should a believer fear death? probably not. But is it realistic for us to be somewhat concerned about the process of dying? I think that's normal - but it also drives me back to God, knowing that He will give the strength and gace to cope when I need it.. but not before. As one person told me, if you need somethiig at noon, don't start looking for God to show up until 11:59!

Finally, i don;t think bravery or faith mean, necessarily, the absence of fear. I think it is not allowing th fear to grow to anxiety nor allowing our decisions to be made by the fear.

Thanks for letting me ramble!
Mr. fank

Sam said...

If you didn't have any fears you wouldn't need faith. I hate flying. Have you read Shane Claiborne's book?

Ordinary Radical said...

Hey Sam..

Yes, Shane Claiborne changed my life...thus the name of my blog..looks like he changed yours too :)

Jennifer said...

where's the love, bro?

Anonymous said...

Well, I know you've been staying up nightss worrying about me! ;)~ So, I thought I'd drop by and reassure you, I survived my flights . . . all of them!! None too shocking to anyone, I know... but, hey, it made MY day! heehee!! :)

Hope the wedding plans are "flying" right along!!

xox, crock