Mile High Musings

You should know that I hate flying. Because every time I think I'm going to die.

Thank you dearly, flight attendants, for explaining to me how to survive if this glorified pop bottle falls from the sky. I'll gladly inhale the oxygen that I'm *sure* will release when needed and cuddle my seat cushion which will be incredibly helpful when we fall from 30,000 feet into a pond. Same goes for my flashing, whistling life preserver.

At takeoff my palms get sweaty, my face gets hot, and I start glancing at people beside me. How can that lady next to me sleep at a time like this?! Doesn't she *know*?! They always seat me by the sleepy passengers. What a cruel joke. All the while I'm muttering prayers about floating and salvation.

But then the magical part comes. The part where the plane tries to convince me I'm safe. The cabin fills with light from the breaking dawn, you know the color, that pinkish gold hue that reminds you of smoky old movies and road trips. It sweeps over the ceiling, hugging the seats, illuminating the faces of the less concerned. The sun lifts into the sky with me as it warms my face, and tries to convince me that he's ok floating around out there so I should be fine too. But I'm not sure what the sun knows about gravity. The very force that keeps him stable is the same force that can turn me into a nice chutney.

Yes, I'll take a Coke please, and fill my belly with bubbles. Maybe that will keep me afloat while I dream of Wonka and burp my way down to the surface.


All the WIFI and fasten seat belts lights won't convince me I'm safe but at least there's hope in pretending. Same goes for you, ya gorgeous blanket of clouds below. I know you're nothing but a vapor. Just like me.

Meanwhile, as my belly bloats reminding me of last night's pizza and my cheeks flush (I think I should get my blood pressure checked), my mind travels below.

Today I'll be landing in the very same airport where my husband proposed to me this day, exactly five years ago. We had met a few months prior that August, and we just knew that what we had was something different. That November we had the marriage talk, and when he went home for Christmas his mother gave him a ring. It was all very fast, too fast to even realize what we were getting ourselves into. 

When he arrived home from Christmas and dropped to one knee at the airport, I was flabbergasted. Not just because he was proposing so soon, but because of the ring. It was so wildly unique, dating back to somewhere around the 1870s. It was made of two flower shaped earrings connected by a diamond. The petals held tiny rudimentary diamonds, and the flower centers consisted of larger diamonds encircled by rings of rubies. The band was a light rose gold.

It was something I was going to wear the rest of my life, and, well,  I was expecting a plain silver band with a pearl. Needless to say I gave him my yes, threw on the ring, and avoided looking at it for the first few moments.

He later explained that he chose the ring because it was made of rose gold and flowers and my middle name was Rose. Denying such a thoughtful choice was hardly something I could do. It would have been so shallow of me to ask for something different, so I learned to get used to the unique piece. Despite it being referred to as owl eyes, an intricate brassiere and hooters (my personal favorite), I'm so proud to wear it today.

Thinking of the way Jeff proposed (in an airport but away from people, excited and quickly) showed me how he knew enough (or got lucky) to make sure it was private. I'm a serious introvert and would have hated to have others watch me. Since then I've learned that he gets passionate easily and acts on said passion. Just like when he popped the question. 

And immediately, and probably most importantly, I caught a glimpse of how my marriage is not so much about me as it is about Jeff, and it's not so much about Jeff as it is about the Lord. When he showed me that ring... sheesh. I was freaked out! But knowing that it was as equally vulnerable for him as it was for me, I didn't want to hurt him by saying no to the ring. So I said yes to it and to him, sacrificing control in favor of love.

I wish I could say I lived that delicately all the time, but marriage has released a beast in me that I've had to learn to tame. The worst parts of my character have reared their ugly heads, and I'm so thankful Jeff has had grace for me through it. Things have been a challenge ever since that day, but it's a challenge I wouldn't trade for anything. Being married has taught me to depend on the Lord like never before. It has refined me and forced me to love beyond reason, and it has shown me the power behind commitment and covenant. Through it and the Lord's grace, I've become someone I don't think I ever would have become and for that I rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.
Impending doom aside, I guess airports and airplanes aren't all that bad. More than free Coke, they seem to hand out opportunities for freedom. That day mine was in the form of a scruffy, skinny Californian soldier who has probably experienced his fair share of surprises since then as well.

Sometimes things we love (and that love us) can come out of the very things we hate. So maybe instead of expecting death, I should practice expecting life. Or better yet, maybe this plane needs to crash (not this LITERAL plane, people!) so I can understand what it is to live, that is, in Christ.

Emma Wheatley

TOPEKA, KS, 66606