Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Recently Ree a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman wrote a great post and confessed her deepest phobia - a serious fear of flying. Shannon, at Rocks in My Dryer is struggling with the same issue as she is leaving for Africa in a couple of weeks on a trip with Compassion International. Her fear is real and palpable. I know this fear on a very intimate level. It plagues me too. And I hate it.
I have always had this fear, and I have always said that I will not let my fear keep me from doing things in life. I would fly anyway. And for the most part I have. But as time goes on, this fear is only getting worse. And suddenly I find myself NOT doing things, if I have to fly to do them. And in the past my fear has only pertained to me. I mean, I have never worried about anybody else flying - just me. But when my husband and daughter flew to Argentina a couple of weeks ago - I was a nervous wreck and found myself tracking their flights online all day long to make sure they had landed safely. And turning on CNN to make sure there were no news reports of horrific plane crashes.
So I am asking myself, "What in the world is going on?" I have tried to decipher it. Is it a control issue? Maybe. I think I would rather fly the plane than ride in it. And ummm, I should mention, I don't know how to fly! I guess that is control. I have no say at all in how the thing is flying. Maybe I would feel better if I could sit in the cockpit and see what's going on. Seriously.
Is it a fear of dying issue? I don't really think so. I truly believe that God holds me in the palm of His hand. I believe that every day of my life has already been planned by Him and I will not die one day sooner or later than He has ordained. I trust Him with my life. I'm not wanting to die right now - but I'm truly not afraid of it.
Is it a fear of fear issue? Maybe so. I don't like being afraid. I flew once not long ago and as we were coming in for a landing in Salt Lake, the plane suddenly dropped quite a distance with no warning. People began screaming. We landed fine and I never did hear what happened. I can tell you that I was scared out of my mind. And I was relieved that I discovered that I don't make a fool of myself when I am that afraid. I didn't scream or cry. I was praying. And it took everything in me to make the connecting flight home. I was a wreck.
I'm sure it isn't helpful to me that I lost my dad, who was an amazing pilot, in a plane accident. But my fear began before that happened. When we flew to Italy last year, I knew I was going to have problems and I did something I never wanted to do. I asked my doctor to give me a medication to help. I determined not to take it unless I had to. But for heaven's sake - we are talking a 13 hour flight over the water. So I flew from Boise to Seattle without too much problem. But waiting in the Seattle airport I began to have some serious anxiety and I took a Zanex. After about 6 hours, I can't say I noticed anything. We got into some turbulance over the ocean - which is a freaky thing to me. I took another one. The next memory I have is waking up in a hotel room in Venice. I have absolutely no memory of how I got there. I guess it helped me with my flying issue - but I hate, hate, hate taking medicine. I don't even take Tylenol.
The last time I flew - to Florida last summer- I had my daughter download some tv shows on my iPod - I thought that might help. She downloaded a program called LOST! Big mistake - for those who don't know - it's all about a plane crash on an island. And it shows the crash over and over and over again!
This whole thing is making me crazy. I want to work through it. I want to be able to fly places without going through all the anxiety. I read through all 840 comments on Pioneer Woman's post and many of them talk about prayer. I have that one covered! I never feel closer to God than when I fly!
So I was just wondering. Do any of you share this fear? And if so, what do you do about it?