Last October, I was very “fortunate” to board a plane from San Francisco to Houston. It was a night flight and just before we depart, the pilot made an announcement. I was too tired to focus on his announcement and the only sentence I heard was “…we all know what’s going on in Texas, don’t we?”. I was totally oblivious with what was happening in Texas and did not think much about it after being in transit for many hours.
No matter how much my pilot friends tried to convince me that flying is the safest mode of transportation, I am always jittery when planes go through bad weather and turbulence. With the many incidents throughout 2015, they added up to the anxiety each time I board a plane. However one dies, death is never depicted as a pleasant experience.
About an hour before landing at Houston airport, I saw the air stewardess frantically taking her seat after hanging up the receiver.
Almost immediately, what seemed to be the end of my life happened. The nearest and best way I can describe the situation is through the scenes of a Vietnam war movie when military transport planes go through war zone in the storm.
It wasn’t any regular turbulence that I have experienced for the past years. It wasn’t the regular “bounce” but a full fledged roller coaster in motion while you are consciously aware that there were no tracks beneath.
For those of us who knows what gravity is while maintaining the thought of being in mid air can be more than a terrifying experience. It was no longer butterflies in my stomach. The butterflies have turned into a huge T-Rex trying to rip my stomach apart in an attempt to escape. I was beyond terrified, I had cramps!
There and then, I thought to myself that it was all up to the pilot, the plane, or God. Either one giving up on us, I will cease to exist…
I have not been praying much as of late but at that point, I can remember all the prayers I have learned during my faith formation years. I recited my prayers so fast that it almost sounded like I was going into tongues! I kept on telling myself that if I can get through that storm, I will no longer fear flying (not true).
After 30 minutes of terror, as soon as the storm started, it vanished and we started descending. Later did I know from the news at Houston airport, it was called Hurricane Patricia.
I guess it is quite natural for us believers in any religion to call on the Almighty when faced with difficult situations that are out of our control.
Before traveling, I have a habit of finding out locations of churches nearby my destinations. How can you not give thanks and praise to God for being alive after a long haul flight? It must be His grace that kept us all safe and alive.
I enjoy going to the nearby church early before service starts and have some quiet time recharging my soul. Here are some of the places of worship my soul was blessed to find solace and peace…