It was the long runway that day…
The runway that stretches long and far for the mass of plane to lift us up and off.
We were passengers on the plane and I could feel the barrier to it all.
There’s gravity to break and all those bondages to defy – if we’re meant to overcome in life, if we’re destined to rise and not rot, to fly instead of flop.
Yeah, life can at times feel like a long runway, and you wonder whether you’ve got what it takes to up and fly.
We’d left the kids with our parents.
Flown first time without the pitter patter.
Exited the home with only a carry-on bag and a couple of clothes thrown in.
The Husband kept grinning at me, saying how easy it was to travel without the kids.
He’d been invited to preach, and he had turn around and asked if I’d come along with him, if I’d fly with him without the kids.
This past one decade, we had always travelled with them.
Yeah, we were those parents on the plane with the multiple interruptions on the go: the continuous toilet tours, the munching of every imaginable snack, the hushing of untimely giggles when everyone’s fast asleep, the mama with her hair ruffled so bad because the toddler got downright bored and restless — that was us… but that day on the plane, it was just us, and my emotions raw and real.
I’d bawled like a baby the whole length of the plane’s trip that day.
I was the woman with the baggage.
There were words spoken that week that hung heavy and pummelled the peace right out of me. There were disappointments of the past that shattered the hope of a future bright.
I was a bruised reed on the sideline of life with gaping wounds and a broken wing.
And this is true about broken hearts: it’s not what happens to you that shatters you the most as it is what you perceive has happened to you that will shape you the most.
I pleaded for a heart stronger than the hurts, a courage to fly rather than flee and a life that will be better rather than bitter.
The Husband was working on his message, oblivious to his weeping wife.
I looked at him.
He had worn one of his business shirts and remarked how his attire keeps him in his work mode. He was a man on a mission and he had his eyes set like a flint. God’s Word a burning ember in his heart, he’s catching onto the vision, and he wasn’t to be swayed.
But I had been swayed that week.
I frayed from what was hard and holy because they’d hurt.
All throughout that week, I’d kept myself busy.
Kept my distance from emotions that might weaken me and people that might wound me.
Gave myself to work so I could keep my smile plastered and my disappointment intact.
And I’ve repeatedly said to myself: “No, no, no, Lord – I’m not cut out for this and I’m not called to live my life like this”
But there’s no divine appointment without deep healing and there’s no victory in the vision as long as we choose to remain a victim.
Because it’s not our weight that holds us down, not even the pitter patter that keeps us back from flying – but it’s our inability to see how He uses the weight of life to lifts us up, and fly.
And I just kept watching for its wings…
Read it that morning before the flight, Oswald Chambers writing as if to an audience of one: that ‘if we lose vision, we alone are responsible — and the way we lose vision is by spiritual leakage…’ and yes, ‘we (can) rush off into practical work that we forget the vision’.
And his words had grabbed me, that the way to fly in a cyclone of storms is to live out the vision ‘sixty seconds of every minute and the sixty minutes of every hour’ – working out His call into the practical reality of the every day life – challenges and all.
Doesn’t the principle of aviation work in conjunction with the school of life’s afflictions?
And doesn’t God uses everything in our life – the bad, the good, and the very bad, to make for a life that reigns rather than regrets?
I’m not trying to kid us – Tears that hurt can be tears that heal, and to take off in life you need all the forces in play: the thrust and the drag, the lift and the weight.
To thrust forward you’ve gotta believe that He uses the drag of people, problems and pitfalls to shape you rather than crush you.
And our wounds may very well be the paths on which relationships go deeper, richer and realer.
There’s no shame in tears because God heals every broken heart, every wounded hope.
The Husband continued working away, unaware.
And all I could hear was the sound.
The roar of air burning with fuel to set us off, to accelerate us down the broadway rapid. Its noise drowning the sound of my sobbing away.
This law of aerodynamics teaching us that planes could only take off when the engine moves it forward at a high speed, creating rapid airflow over the wings which then throw air down towards the ground.
It’s the ‘cyclones’ of air that generate the upward force of lift which breaks the barrier of gravity and weight, and holds the plane in the sky.
I’m beginning to see..
That the way to fly with ease is to allow the the ‘wings’ of His grace to overcome the’ weight’ of our problems, and to allow the ‘thrust’ of His love to comfort us in the ‘drag’ of our pain.
Because resurrection always requires a previous death, so I wanna stop looking for the living among the dead and keep my heart pliable if I want to remain useable.
The Husband suddenly realised I’d been weeping.
He turned around and asked in utter shock, “What happened?”, my tears smudging the lines i had drawn to define my eyes.
There are the smudges and the broken and the frayed bits of us but there isn’t a need to cover up any of our failings, or hide any of our feelings because it’s honesty’s that’s required first of all for hurts to heal.
I turned my gaze towards the window. Smiling with tears in my eyes, I whispered: “I’m just really really touched…”
Touched by the fact that Christ’s rising from the grave is the reality with which we can be whole and healed.
Touched by the fact that the path to wholeness is really through forgiveness.
Conscious of the fact that there’s no need to live up to an image when you can clearly see who you are made in the image of.
And I’m learning it now: we need our broken, bruised and battered edges of us because there’s no spiritual vitality without emotional maturity and we can be simply loved and accepted for who we really are.
Honestly, we can.
Because this is truth: the way to build a Kingdom of disciples is to care for the broken, bruised reeds of life the way Jesus Himself does. And He has a place in His kingdom for your broken past, for your battered days.
He half-jokingly replied, “Women…”, and proceeded with: “Care to hear what I’m gonna share with the group tonight?”
I nodded and sank my head underneath his shoulder. I listened to the sound of his voice, to the gentle truth that erases all my hard edges away.
And I kept thinking how our kids and parents were waiting at the other end of the sky with the same hope in the Healer, with the same faith in the One who makes every broken heart whole.