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As Time Goes by with Rich O'Brian: Taking Flight

By Rich O'Brian

March 1, 2023

I’m quite sure I’m not alone. That is, there must be others who become a little, shall we say, concerned when it comes to taking off in an airplane. That is, placing one’s life in the hands of someone they hardly know, if at all. I’m acquainted with one airline pilot. I suppose if I always flew on flights when he was in the cockpit, I’d be less apprehensive. But to be honest, I’m not too sure. I do board a plane on occasion, but always when there’s no other option.

There is an enlightening true story in a book by Bob Goff. He writes a suspenseful story about when he was piloting a small plane at night. He finds that, when he’s ready to land the plane, if a precious indicator light doesn’t come on, he is unable to know whether his wheels have come down. I won’t give away the story’s ending, but his point is, we should have faith enough to land the “planes” in our lives.

I happen to have a son-in-law who repairs and otherwise prepares small planes for flight. I’m fascinated. In fact, he works on several planes at a time. I’m intrigued by what he does, and I’m somewhat anxious to prove his competency.

Ah, but what about life itself? I was reading about some people who use small airplanes to help others. I could write about the work these pilots do, but reading their story led me to think in outline form about how their labor compares with a human being’s life story. Here’s what I mean: I’ll make it personal and urge you to take my place. When I was born quite a number of years ago, one could say that I had just finished my preflight preparation and, if you will, I just took off! I opened my eyes and began the process of becoming acquainted with the landscape of life. It doesn’t appear to look anything like the world in my mother’s womb. I’m flying—at last.

Now I’m beginning to soar. What does that look like? It looks like becoming aware of my surroundings. I’m learning. I’m in the school of life. This is my cockpit. I listen to instructions over the loudspeaker (Mom). She makes sure I have enough fuel to soar in these learning days.

But wouldn’t you know. Just as I’m becoming used to flying high, I see dark clouds on the horizon. I’m flying directly into the eye of a storm. I’m hearing others now and they are running into storms as well.

The next maneuvers I have to engage in are those I’ve been taught will prepare me for my final descent. By now I’ve been to many flight school sessions. In fact, I carry my “Holy Flight Manual” with me, especially to those weekly lessons. Those were priceless sessions almost all of which were meant to prepare me for the day I land—and to where I go from here in The Garden of Eads.

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