Saturday, April 18, 2009


I've been thinking a lot lately about my first flight in real instrument conditions.  It was a really weird experience for me.  It was about learning to unlearn what I'd spent a lifetime learning.  If that makes sense.  The problem with flying in instrument conditions is you have no visual reference points and your body tells you all sorts of crazy stuff.  It becomes difficult to tell which way is up.  I found myself flying in tight banks with the nose down without even knowing it.  You really should be able to feel something like that.  It's almost like your body has so little to go on that it makes up things that aren't real.  I found myself sort of creating horizons to fly at.  I don't care how good you are, there is no way to fly in those conditions without your instruments.  The problem is, looking at an instrument panel for six hours is really boring.  I'd be flying along just fine and get the urge to look out the widow for a while and the next thing you know I'm spiraling toward the ground.  Someone once told me I didn't have a bad experience, I had the wrong experience.  I think that's probably a good way to describe what happens when you try to fly in the clouds based on what you feel and see.

I do the same thing with God.  I've spent a lot of time here telling you how I experience God and what that says about him.  I think most of it is probably valid, I love stories and I believe God is there in those stories - healing, teaching, comforting, revealing.  I haven't spent much time telling you what I've found the Bible to say about God.  That scares me a little.  I've been scooting along here in the clouds with only occasional glances at the instrument.  

When you're instrument flying you have to trust what they say.  You have to learn to ignore what you think you know, everything your mind tells you to be correct, and fly based on what the instruments tell you is true.  The analogy kind of breaks down here because flight instruments sometimes fail and the Bible never does, there has to be a balance.

The plane I took that flight in is pretty old and going through the clouds and rain one of the windows leaked a little and I could feel the cold and water down my arm.  It made the experience real.  It was one of the most memorable moments of my life, not because the instruments were nice to read, but because the experience was real.  At the same time, I probably would have died had the instruments not been there.  I guess I'm saying; dare to fly, live in the clouds, revel in the experience, just make sure and check the gauges.              


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