I was lighthearted and confident until it was time to board the flight. I’ve flown before across the continent and over oceans. This time it was just a short hop along the east coast.
There was a two hour delay which didn’t inspire confidence. We waited checked our luggage and waited for the call to board our flight. Finally, our group lined up to walk aboard toting our carry-on luggage.
Suddenly, I had no wish to leave home and wanted nothing more than to turn around and drive back to my little house, my dogs, and my warm, cozy kitchen. Too many plans had been made, though. Our housesitter was already hired and we’d didn’t even have a car, having been driven to the airport be a friend. I forced my stiff legs along the slanted walkway to the plane, found a seat with husband and son on either side, buckled in and waited. Sweat prickled my brow and palms.
As the flight attendants started their safety speech punctuated with attempted humor and lighthearted fun. I felt very, very close to the spirit of creation and began a heartfelt plea for my fellow passengers, the pilot, and sweet flight attendants. My mind ran with fear and with pleas for safe passage for all of us travelers.
The engines fired up, the roar swelled and deafened us. Conversation was stilled. Passengers stared at phones and out the windows. I double-checked my seatbelt and re-doubled my efforts to beg for safety, for the plane, for us all.
We lurched down the runway, picked up speed and were suddenly, softly air born. The ground dropped away below us and my mind stilled. Our plane climbed through the clouds and I breathed. The engines quieted and so did my heart.
Breathing steadily, my mind stilled and I realized I’d stopped pleading for life. I stopped thinking and felt my breath. The engines faded into the background.
The quieter my spirit became, the closer I felt to peace. Praying was only begging and babbling but the panic dropped away only when I stopped pleading and listened in stillness. Praying was just me talking but the silence of meditation, is listening.
It also helped when the delightful Flight Attendant came around with the drinks cart and slipped me an extra tiny vodka to make up for the flight delay.