On a flight home from an out-of-state weekend trip, I couldn’t help but notice the poor guy next to me. He looked worried. Either this was his first flight, or he hated flying.
As soon as he sat down, the young man threw open the shutter to expose the window and a view of the real world, trying to control his erratic breathing. His legs bounced up and down, a visible manifestation of his nervousness. He flopped his tray table down and rested his arms on it, holding his head in them. Clearly, he just wanted to get to his destination.
Fear kept this guy from enjoying the journey.
How often does fear keep us from enjoying aspects of our own journeys? Irrational trepidation can keep our minds preoccupied, stealing our joy.
I was able to observe the young man next to me because I was free from fear. I like flying. And even though our flight experienced quite a bit of turbulence shortly after departure — which only added to my neighbor’s obvious uneasiness — I delighted in the thrill of hitting air pockets along the way, feeling safe in the hands of our pilot and the aircraft surrounding us.
The funny thing was my row partner and I were both in the same situation. Neither of us had any control over our circumstances, other than paying to take the flight. We were both at the mercy of the pilot. We could take pleasure in the journey, or we could be miserable the entire way.
That’s how it is with life. We’re not really in control of our circumstances. We are to some extent. But we’re helpless when our loved ones get cancer or are in car accidents and things of that nature.
Regardless, we can enjoy the ride — bumps and all — or we can worry about it and be paralyzed by fear. It’s a matter of perspective. For me, I choose to roll with the punches and take what comes, trying to find good in it. Life is too short to spend in fear and worry. And in reality, there’s not a whole lot I can control anyway.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"