Scared to fly?
I love traveling. The thrill of going to a new place, seeing new things, and meeting new people—I love every second of it.
In the summer of 2021, I was all set to go to Colorado, where I would be a staff member at a youth adventure camp for Christian Scientists. I was very excited, except for one thing: To get to Colorado, I had to get on an airplane . . . and planes aren’t my cup of tea.
I clutched my armrest and pulled down the shade on my window so I wouldn’t have to see the storm we were flying through.
The plane ride began, and takeoff wasn’t too bad. I watched some Monty Python comedy shows in an attempt to de-stress and forget that I was on a plane. But it wasn’t long before we hit some turbulence, and I started to freak out. I clutched my armrest and pulled down the shade on my window so I wouldn’t have to see the storm we were flying through.
Here’s the part where you might expect me to say, “I instantly prayed and had a fantastic healing, and now everything is all right.” Unfortunately, instead my first thought was “I’m gonna die.” Looking back, I know that wasn’t a helpful thought, but in the moment, my fear felt too intense to think differently.
I was actually shaking in my seat when I suddenly noticed that the gentleman in the aisle seat next to me was fast asleep. And I mean a deep sleep. Neck pillow, drooling, snoring. I was absolutely dumbfounded by this, but it also changed my perspective completely. If this man could be that calm when the plane felt to me like it was doing barrel rolls in the sky, then I could certainly take a hint from him and calm down. But how?
I realized I could pray. The reason prayer came to mind as a solution was that I was heading to this camp for Christian Scientists, and in my application for the camp, they’d asked me to share a healing I’d had. I’d used one of my healings from fifth or sixth grade, which had made me think about my lack of experience in healing since then. So in that moment in the air, I realized this was an opportunity to have another healing experience by praying. While I’d known others who had been healed through prayer, nothing is quite like having the experience yourself.
What came to me as I prayed was something I’d learned from attending Christian Science Sunday School: I could think about God and the different names for God inspired by the Bible, as well as related divine qualities—Love, Truth, kindness, comfort, and so on. Thinking about God and God’s qualities can help you get through difficult situations by reminding you of the goodness and peace that are present right now, right where you are, even when it seems otherwise.
I thought of seven synonyms for God I’d learned in Sunday School. I couldn’t remember all of them, but I did know that one of them is Truth. Truth tells us what’s true—like the fact that God is governing everyone and everything, on the ground and in the sky, all the time. Truth assured me that the plane would land and that everyone on board would be safe and sound. I felt comforted knowing that God was in control of the situation. My heart stopped racing; my goose bumps faded; and I felt calm and reassured, even though the plane continued to bump around. Once I felt this embracing comfort, I was able to enjoy the flight, because I knew I was safe.
About five minutes later, the captain’s voice came over the intercom telling us that the turbulence was ending and we’d cleared the storm. I opened my window shade to see the fields, greenery, and mountains below without a single dark cloud in sight. I was calm for the rest of the flight, and we landed safely.
I would certainly say that planes still aren’t my cup of tea. But I’m grateful to have had the realization that, instead of giving in to fear while I’m in the air, I can trust God and use the time to enjoy the beauty of the sky or marvel at the cool engineering I’m sitting in!
This experience helped remove my doubts about healing and strengthen my faith, enabling me to become the Christian Scientist I am today.