Twenty-three years ago our plane crash-landed onto an airfield in Cancun Mexico. At the end of our week long vacation, we had taken a little puddle jumper from Cozumel to Cancun. From there we had planned to get on a jetliner headed for home. The aircraft was small but full, with only about 45 passengers total. As we loaded the plane, a cute girl in a short mini skirt coerced her way onto our sold out flight. Without a seat, the pilots found her a place to sit right in between them on a crate in the cockpit. Blame it on the lack of flight restrictions in Mexico or the pilots trying to impress a cute girl – either way, we all felt a little uneasy about the situation.
During our 15 minute flight, we all had a full visual of the situation up front. Cute girl flirting with pilots and young pilots trying to impress all added up to distraction. An unlevel horizon and an incorrect angle for the descent caused the landing gear to buckle upon impact. It’s hard to explain the thoughts rushing through your head as you slide down a runway on the belly of a plane. Unsure if we might be flipping end over end and into a ball of flames any second I thought our 3-year-old son at home. The baby I was almost three months pregnant with. Regrets for not having a will, and trepidation about whether our impending deaths would be quick and painless.
There wasn’t a fire despite all the smoke, and we eventually came to a stop without flipping end over end. While all passengers were in a panicked daze, no one was injured. The small Cancun airport was shut down for 5 hours as they surveyed the situation and cleaned up the broken aircraft. 12 hours later we landed back at home. A simple thing like lack of focus led to a disastrous situation.
To this day I still have flashbacks when I get on a plane. When the turbulence gets rough, I often take a knuckle-white grip on the arm rests.
A friend recently shared something he heard on a plane, and it immediately made me think of this experience. As his airplane was preparing for taking off, the pilot got on the intercom and warned of possible turbulence during the flight. Then in a reassuring voice said: “We can handle it and so can the plane.”
We are each sent to earth with the equipment and abilities we need to endure the turbulence of life. A downward spiral can feel a little terrifying, even discouraging. When we hold steady and remember we were built to handle the turbulence, we can see a glimpse of hope shining in the distance. We all have times when we need to hope for something better. When we need to cling to a promise of good things to come. “Hope on. Journey on.”
Just like the pilots on our commuter flight we can each become distracted by “things” that keep us from accomplishing our purpose. For those who are struggling with turbulence keep your eye focused on what is important. Avoid the distractions the world may flaunt in your view. As we rely on the steadying power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement for each of us, we will find hope as we wait for calmer days.
How do you handle the turbulence in your life?
Holland, Jeffrey R. (2017) Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng