Awoke at 6:30am to a grey overcast sky and windy conditions. Fast moving clouds pushing east, swirling, gusting winds, whipping through the trees. I can hear the waves on the lake as they crash against the shoreline. The threat of rain with each passing minute, still not enough to keep me inside as nature dances all around me. The sound of a plane overhead, either flying into or departing slave lake airport, brings back memories all too familiar, flying in IFR (Instrument only) conditions such as these. The exhilarating, heart pounding excitement as the ground disappears and reappears, intense concentration as you’re surrounded by white and all sense of direction vanishes.
How blessed I was to live my dream of flying. The industry was abusive, oppressive, demoralizing, yet the love of flying endured. I allowed nothing to stop me from what I loved and did best. God has me on another journey now, one that’s much more kind, reflective and more challenging. Mapping the paths and trails of my mind, navigating my heart, calculating each action, relying on God as I once relied on my gauges to be accurate and true.
Flying aircraft in IFR conditions, each gauge relied on at least two others, referencing three for accuracy and truth. You could never use just one to be absolutely certain. On this new journey I’m being taught something new, no longer cross referencing but relying on one true entity — my Higher Power, for all my questions, problems, concerns, fears, worries and doubts. I often find myself looking elsewhere when confused, frustrated or find myself off course, yet when difficulties become too much, desperation arises and turbulence tumbles me into humility.
I turn my gaze upward, call on God and he saves me, in ways I least expect sometimes. I’m usually in turmoil longer than I want to be due to self-will and self-pity. It’s only when I come out the other side, a little worse for wear and by the grace of God, that I can properly evaluate my mistakes. That only happens through immense humility. In “self-will” there is no success; the victories lie in “Thy will, not mine, be done.”
I’ve spent the majority of my life believing I was above that law — I was a prestigious pilot after all. I had a front row seat to the world, everyone else sat behind me. I doubted my abilities constantly, yet overcame the doubts and became someone in high regard and surrounded myself with others alike. Never stopping or considering for one moment that God had a hand in my success, my achievements, my accomplishments… It was all me, me, me, so wrapped up in self, taking all the credit and giving none. As self-reliance grew stronger, my tolerance became weaker — to life, to death, to everyone, every place, everything, every situation. Ignorance is bliss, denial was thick, taking on the world by myself led to my own demise.
Of all the things I have overcome, achieved and conquered, change has been and still is the most difficult of all! Old thought patterns, behaviors and attitudes constantly arise and each time they do, they must be recognized, challenged and changed to suit life on God’s terms, not mine.
At the beginning of this new journey I made an oath to be willing to go to “any lengths” — but what does that mean exactly? It means doing things you’ve never attempted before, facing your greatest fears, doing what’s right, rather than what’s easiest. It means resistance, rejection, vulnerability, open-mindedness, courage, humility. It means making mistakes, failing and trying again. It means taking action, pushing past perceived fears and believing in the not-yet-seen.
This is all easier said than done and it takes a lifetime of practice and patience; this is by no means an overnight matter. It can be done, if you remain relentless in your quest for a better life than the one you’re presently living in.
The longer I’m on this journey, the more I realize how much hard work is involved. I’ve also come to the realization that I no longer have to do the work alone. I’m surrounded by other avenues and streets of people that have made the same journey. Some are further ahead, some are further behind, but in order to succeed I must stick close to them otherwise I will surely die.
All I have is this moment, this day… tomorrow is in God’s hands, I must make that decision everyday. I fret about the future far too much. My job is to remain in the present in order to secure a better future, and remain willing to go to any lengths to achieve that.