Monday, September 12, 2011


I was reminded tonight of the power of story. I thought I'd tell one.  This isn't going to be a testimony, at least not specifically, I don't reckon anything I say is completely void of testimony.  I hope it isn't. If you do want to know my testimony you can find it here.

When nothing is owed, deserved or expected
And your life doesn't change by the man that's elected
If you're loved by someone you're never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it.
-Avett Brothers

I grew up around aviation.  My dad was a pilot and I spent a lot of time hanging around airports and riding in small planes as a kid.  My room had models hanging from the ceiling and airplane posters were my wallpaper. All I wanted to do was fly; when I was a kid.  It was Michael Jordan and girls that first pushed aviation to the back of my mind.  

We moved some when I was young so I didn't have any real friends.  It wasn't my favorite thing but I didn't mind it much.  At least I didn't mind it until I noticed girls.  Once girls became an issue I knew one thing, "this not being noticed thing has got to stop." I knew in the fifth grade the fact that I wanted to one day be a pilot wasn't going to get me far.  I needed something now.  I saw Jordan play ball and knew that had to get him chicks.  That was really all it took, that and the only friend I had at the time tried out for the team.  That was it.  I was hooked.  I loved basketball.  I love girls.  Made perfect sense.  I didn't actively decide to not want to be a pilot anymore.  It just happened.  Basketball was what I did, flying was what my dad did.  

I grew up, got married, got a job, had a kid.  I had a great life - a good job.  A job that made sense.  I would probably still be doing if if I hadn't started going to small group at church with a pilot.  This is one of the things I think God did intentionally.  Group was at this pilot's house so I spent a lot of time playing with his son's models.  The look of the their house, the language he speaks, the schedule he keeps, all very familiar.  It started doing something to me.  I thought at first it just made me miss my dad, which it did, it also made me miss aviation.  Two things happened that really awakened a passion for aviation and an appreciation for the freedom it can provide.  I'm not sure what order they happened in, but I know they were both powerful experiences.  

First, my buddy let me fly with him.  He flies corporate jets (I know its hard to detect sarcasm is writing.  Can you detect jealousy?  There may be a hint of it there).  I don't think anybody can ride in the cockpit of a corporate jet and not want to be a pilot.  I wanted to fly, I knew it as soon as the wheels left the ground.  

My job at the time happened to be across the street from his son's daycare.  Again, I suspect God's involvement.  One Tuesday I was walking to my car for a sales call and my buddy pulled in with his son.  He had just picked the kid up early from school and was gong to take him to feed the ducks.  In the middle of the day on a Tuesday.  When they told me their plans I apparently didn't get excited enough for his son's liking.  He leaned over to look me in the face and said, "hey, its fun for kids."  You know what isn't fun for kids?  Sitting at school while dad sales ads.  Neither is watching dad sit in his chair and drink beer because his day sucked so bad he "just needs a minute." I'm not knocking an 8-5.  There are a lot of things I liked and miss about it (I have a lot of respect for people who do the best they can to provide for their families).  I just knew that if I had to do it much longer I would need a beer and I would need way more than a minute for the day's suck to wear off.  I wanted to be a pilot.  I wanted the life, not the money.  I knew it would be financially tough - I knew it would be difficult - I knew I wanted it.    

I wanted it, I just didn't do anything about it.  I'm not sure why.  I just didn't.

Shortly after my daughter was born I got up in the night to feed her.  I didn't do that a lot, but I did that night.  I wanted to have the TV on for the noise and light, but I couldn't find the remote.  I turned it on and sat down to feed her.  Once she finished eating she was wide awake so I decided we should talk a few minutes before I put her back in bed.  (I try not to talk politics on here, but I can't tell the next part without disclosing some political feelings.  Sorry.  I hope you don't stop reading).  We talked for a while and then, like you do when talking to an infant, I ran out of things to say.  I looked up and watched TV for the first time.  President Obama was on.  Not sure if it was a commercial of a news story, but he was on.  I told her he would probably be the next president.  I told her what a president was.  I told her daddy didn't care for him much.  That I didn't agree with him on a lot of things.  Then I told her that the great thing about America was that we avenues to change to the things we don't like.  I told her that I didn't like having to wait four years, but that I was glad to live in a country where I had some say.  I told her that America is the greatest country ever.  I told her that great people had done great things to make that true.  I said, "The beautiful thing about America is that even though daddy doesn't like Mr. Obama, even his story proves that America is great. His story is proof that in America you can be anything."  I looked my little girl in her beautiful wide brown eyes and told her, "this is America and you can be anything you want to be. You can do anything you want to do."  I knew as soon as it left my mouth that if I kept doing what I was doing she would never believe it.  How could she believe that she could be whatever she wanted to be if I wasn't?  I had for some time that I wanted to be a pilot. I knew then that she needed me to be one.  That I had a responsibility to her to at least try.  

The above picture isn't anything incredible, I took it today because today is 9/11.  I flew an airplane today.  This picture is a reminder that this is America.  In America you can be anything you want to be.  A lot has changed in the last ten years, but America is still great.  A reminder that there are some things no one can take away from us - that great men and women have done great things and made great sacrifices to ensure it remains that way.  A reminder that we serve a God that is both good and in complete control.  

This is America, if you want to honor her, decide what to be and go be it.