I love to fly. It is a fun adventure that never gets old for me. To set out on a journey that takes me away from my ordinary every day to somewhere different is one of the things I enjoy most in life. Even now as I type up this blog I am sitting on a plane that is whisking me off to Sydney. I will be catching up with a couple of girlfriends to make a promotional video for a conference we are planning for next year. Every part of this escapade is just wonderful.
Flying puts people into a few different categories. Some loathe flying. It makes them scared and anxious. To defy the laws of nature this way creates an uneasy feeling that is best dulled with a glass of red. For others, flying is a chore that is simply time consuming and inconvenient. It is part of a busy, hectic lifestyle that has them jet setting to all manner of places, but this prevents them from the rest and peace they would prefer.
I understand both of these points of view, but I don’t share them. I love to fly and I love to share the experience with others like me. I often ask people who enjoy flying about their favourite part of the experience. Is it the in-flight service, or the joy of scoring the window seat? Is it the anticipation of the trip? Is it taking off? Or is it landing that they love more than any other part? Now, while my research is more anecdotal than scientific, I have found that most people tend to like the take-off best. The rush of the accelerating plane and the surge of adrenalin that comes with the huge craft being thrust into the air gives them a buzz like no other. I can understand the attraction to this part of the flight. It is my second favourite bit.
Landing Is My Favourite
My best bit though, is landing. Even before I leave the terminal to commence the flight, I am looking forward to the plane touching down at the other end. It is fabulous to reach the destination you have been preparing for all of that time, and to be able to stretch your legs then step out into an entirely different part of the world. But it is the experience of landing itself that has me like a kid in a candy shop.
“Cabin crew prepare the cabin for landing.”
When I hear the captain’s announcement that the descent is about to begin I literally feel my heart beat a little harder and a little faster, and my breath quicken in excitement. Sometimes my eyes actually well up with tears. When I hear the grinding mechanics of the wheels being readied for touchdown, and feel that drop as the captain lowers us all down, the butterflies flutter and dance their way through the party they have started in my tummy. As the plane leaves the skies and quickly brings the tarmac closer, I am transfixed.
I am spell bound by every sensational part of the landing. To see the skies part and present the view of the land as it draws near is incredible. To feel my ears pop as they adjust to the rapidly changing air-pressure is a welcome adjustment. As the brakes are applied, surging momentum is introduced to mighty resistance, and I am in awe of the physics of this marvellous phenomenon. To become aware of the speed at which we have been flying is mind-blowing. To have the plane’s momentum lurch my entire body forward in my seat is thrilling. To experience the plane coming to such a sudden, forceful stop is breath-takingly powerful. That stop is so abrupt. So final. So complete. So real.
I feel like this every time. Every. Single. Time.
Change Demands Relentless Force
Landing a plane at the end of your journey is a lot like bringing an undesirable part of your life to a close. By the time you reach the change moment, those unwanted things have gained extraordinary momentum. They have propelled you forward to new places in your life, and they have been hurtling you through time and space with force that seems unstoppable. To stop a plane that has been flying through the air at break-neck speed is one thing. To stop a part of your life that has been propelling you along right up to this very moment is another thing entirely. This stop relies on more than just the operation of mechanics. It doesn’t only depend on the application of natural laws that never change. This stop relies on you persisting in steely focus and determination. This thing ain’t gonna happen straight away.
When the plane’s speed meets the brakes’ resistance it doesn’t stop immediately. It can’t. The force that has been propelling that plane forward needs to be slowed before it can stop completely. Landing the plane requires the pilot to initiate landing procedures that only work in a sequence, over time, with consistent, unfailing force. The power that can be exerted by old ways of thinking and living can be countered, but it should not be underestimated. Like stopping a plane, the influences of the past can be slowed, and will eventually come to a complete stop. But this will only happen if the brakes are applied for the duration.
Get Real and Persevere.
For us to make it through this season of change and rebuilding, we must have realistic expectations and appreciate that this thing can’t be done overnight. In fact, it is unlikely to be finished this week or even this month. As we rise to yet another day of hard labour, remember that it is only when we apply the brakes with powerful, ongoing force that we can slow the plane down and bring it in for a safe landing. This takes time. It takes effort. And it takes a commitment to perseverance, right through exhaustion, distractions, and even failure. We must counter the momentum of well-established life patterns with commitment that is greater, more enduring, longer lasting. To persist against the previously established momentum is the only way to create change that lasts.
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