". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Counting Down

One week from today my family and I will climb on a plane and head south. Way south. I'm talking equatorial.

We're going to Grenada. For my husband and me it will be our second time (here's the first). But this will be a first for our kids, in several ways. Not only will it be their first time to see Grenada, but it will be their first time to leave the country. It will be my two youngest children's first time to fly. And it will be the first time we have taken this sort of trip as a family. Usually our vacations consist of driving across the country to visit family. My children have never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld or the Caribbean or even the Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore or a hotel waterpark resort. This trip may well be the one-and-only time we do something like this together before they start doing things like graduating from high school and getting married.

So the countdown begins, as we try to get all our ducks in a row for departure. And I am excited, truly I am. It's going to be wonderful, a once-in-a-lifetime memory factory. There's just one little problem. To get to Grenada, one has to fly. And I am seriously aerophobic. (Aviophobic? Aviataphobic? Pteromechanophobic? Take your pick.)

I haven't always been this way. I think it hit when I was pregnant with my first child. I was doing some piano accompanying for the school choir in the high school where I was teaching English, and I went along on a trip to attend a choir festival in Colorado. The return flight was terribly turbulent, and I was frightened. I have never looked at flying the same way since, and my fear has gotten progressively worse. The last time I flew was when we went to Grenada in 2002, and I think my poor husband may still have indentations in his arms and hands from my constant clasping of them.

So all of you seasoned flyers out there, can you help? Can you remind me of all those statistics about how flying is the safest way to travel and about how I'm much more likely to injure myself at home or die in a car accident than in a plane? I really don't want to spend all of next Tuesday in a panic. And I hate the thought of passing my irrational fear on to my children who haven't flown.

And if you think about it next Tuesday, could you pray?


elephantschild said...

Ok, here's all the times I've flown

(pencil scratching on paper...)

at least 32 times. Probably closer to 40 or 46. A minimum of 16 of those times was in a Helio Courier
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helio_Courier (a VERY small plane, in other words!)

I have survived a bomb threat (JFK airport, 1983) and a small plane full of vomiting people. (That was fun.) I've flown thru bad thunderstorms where icing was a concern. I've flown on tin-pan West African airlines where you had to rush the gate to get a seat and keep a shoe handy to smack the roaches once you boarded!

In 2007, there were 136 airplane accidents with 965 deaths WORLDWIDE.

In 2007, in JUST the state of ILLINOIS alone there were 1,249 traffic fatalities. (41,059 Nationwide.)

Cheryl, I think you'd better decommission your EuroVan! It would be MUCH safer for you guys to FLY to Texas when you visit there!

Nearly every single flight that DOES have a problem lands safely. Including the one at O'Hare the other day, right? Airplanes are built with TRIPLE redundancy in their systems - THREE things have to fail for a particular system to be useless and EVEN THEN, nearly every single flight can land safely.

Remember, an airplane without any engine power can still land, right side up, and safely.

You are in more danger of catching a nasty flu virus on your flight than you are of being hurt during your flight.

But I'll still being praying for your comfort and peace of mind!

Mossback Meadow said...

Cheryl, I will pray for you because I"m a serious aerophobe myself. Serious.

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Speaking as someone who can identify some aircraft by sitting in the seat blindfolded and listening to the engines run...

I'll pray for you.

Seriously. EC has the right stats. :)

Also I take some money or drink coupons for drinks, read, or something else that helps me go to sleep.

If you have to get up to go to the restroom, put your hand on the overhead compartments and slide down. You'll be less likely to lose your balance.

Does this help?

Hannah J said...

Darth Kelvin is well on his way to becoming a commercial pilot. He's also a very good driver if you're worried about that sort of thing. :)

Cheryl said...

Thank you, all! I appreciate the encouragement. And EC's stats are exactly the sort of thing I need to hear. I'm hoping that maybe having my entire family along will help. I think some of my fear in the past may be attributable to separation from my children, and this time that will not be a factor.

IN a few weeks I'll report on how I did!

Jimella said...

I will pray for you and your family. How exciting for you to go on this trip all together. I will look forward to reading about the experience.
As for fear of flying; remember who holds you in the palm of His hand. Fear not for He will be with all of you.

mm1985 said...

Dear Cheryl,

Jimella gave you the same advice that I would give...not to surprising since we are twins! I would take it one step further and as you are taking off..visualize God holding you and the plane in His hands. He will never let you go. Also, I have found at times when I am to afraid to pray...I focus on a favorite Bible Passage. I will look forward to hearing all about your trip when you get back.


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