Anyone who knows me can attest to my love for traveling/flying. I must admit, however, that flying as a child was once nerve wrecking. Let me see how best I can explain this for you.
Have you ever been on a plane and all of a sudden it makes a sudden dip, as though it's about to fall out of the sky? Or experience slight turbulence while flying through clouds, or during thunder, rain, and lightning? Darlings!!!! Have you ever been frightened by the awkward, scared, passenger who screams to the top of their lungs during these times? Yup. That girl was me; until I got accustomed.
Recently, I traveled for a conference in Antigua. Having clocked in eight hours of work for the day then rushed home to complete last minute preparations, I sluggishly approached the LIAT counter and said: "Good night, checking in for my flight to Antigua". As I proceeded to get my passport from my handbag, the LIAT representative responded: "Well, good night Mrs. Thomas, and how are you?". This caught me by surprise. How did he know my name? I looked around in amazement, wondering if I was the last passenger to check-in why he knew my name. But to my surprise, it was two (2) hours before the flight and I was the only passenger at the airport.
Can you believe it?
"Sir", I responded, "is it that I'm the last passenger to check-in, or the only passenger on the flight why you know my name?". He smiled, then said with much excitement, you're the only passenger on the flight.
To be honest, I was confused!
After checking-in, I proceeded to the departure lounge to spend some time with my husband and a friend, before clearing immigration. We conversed, laughed, but while all of this dialogue occurred, my mind had not settled about me being the only passenger on the flight. Ever so often I looked behind me to see if passengers, at least one (1), would come running up the stairs. Probably, just probably they were running late; had a flat tire, or lost track of time. But to my surprise, such was not the case.
About an hour later, the LIAT representative approached me and said: "Ma'am, your plane is on its way, please make the necessary preparations to clear immigration at this moment". Again, another surprise. He said...."my plane", is on its way. My husband and I chuckled about it for a while, said our goodbyes, then I made my way to Immigration.
As I walked past the Immigration Officers on duty, I overheard whispers of: "is she a celebrity", "who is she", "is she a VIP", "where is she from". I sat as another LIAT representative said to me, "I wish I were you right now. You have a whole plane for yourself".
I'd be lying if I said I didn't question why I was the only one on the flight. I'd be lying if I pretended not to be a little worried that there were no fellow passengers. I'd be lying if I said I was not nervous at first.
Upon entering the plane, the Air-hostess greeted me, then escorted me to my seat. The service was like no other; exceptional beyond compare.
As I buckled my seat-belt, I heard these words in a silent voice say: "Get used to flying alone. Where you're headed, you won't always have company. Not everyone can fly at the altitude that I'm about to make you soar". Believe me when I tell you this, from that moment, every concern and anxiety went straight through the door. My nerves were calmed and I was ready for take-off.
The plane began moving, and it was only a matter of seconds before take-off. As we ascended, I got a little concerned again because it felt as if we were en route to Heaven. Eventually, the desired altitude was reached and the aircraft assumed its "cruise position".
It is important for me to mention that my flight arrived for my departure before the scheduled time. Resultantly, I arrived in Antigua, in less time than anticipated.
In addition, upon landing, I heard these words from the Air-hostess, "Welcome to Antigua, my dear".
Never have I experienced such service.
More importantly, it still amazes me that He (God) spoke to me and I was able to hear His voice before take-off. As simple as this experience was, it taught me a few lessons that I want to share with you:
1. If you're afraid and unwilling to go alone, you jeopardize the opportunity of overcoming the fear of maximizing your full potential. As a human beings even if you're not excited about crowds and constant companionship, there's always that one person you enjoy having in your corner. However, there comes a time when even that person has to be taken from you to enable you to trust the strength of your feet, your voice, your abilities and your purpose.
2. Heading in the same direction as another does not suggest unison in purpose. Companionship can be good and bad. I had to ask myself the question, what purpose would it have served if there were other passengers on the flight? Yes, we were both going in the same direction, but we would have all been on different missions upon arrival. Which leads me to my next lesson:
3. Assuming everyone on the same path as you is on the same journey as you is detrimental to your desired outcome.
4. Higher altitudes require a longer climb. Because of where you're headed, it may seem as though your investments, practices, hard work, energy, resources, prayer and faith are a waste of time because you haven't reached your ideal altitude. Remember, different aircrafts fly at different altitudes based on their weight, atmospheric conditions, the type of aircraft, and the intended destination.
My questions to you are: what type of aircraft are you? Where are you headed? What is your atmospheric condition?
5. God gives clear instructions at the beginning of every process. However, we often miss the instructions because we're overly concerned about the process and pay little to no attention to the process instructor. This often causes us to derail, lose focus, give up, become fearful, doubt, and question whether the process is of God or set-up by the enemy.
6. When God gets ready to bless you, everyone around you will recognize. I've flown on LIAT probably over one hundred (100) times. Prior to my most recent flight, there were always delays, poor customer service, and of course, my constant rants - "this is the last time I'm flying on this airline". However, I'm constantly learning that we do not get to decide what the process shall be. We either submit to the process, or we don't.
There was something about this time. There had to be a reason why the Immigration Officers who would normally not respond when I greeted them with pleasantries, were now asking, "who is she", "where is she from", etc.
Dear reader, I encourage you to accept the invitation to fly alone.
Yes, there'll be questions. There will be moments when you get so confused that you'll be tempted to ask someone to slap you to confirm the reality of your struggle. There will be times when the thoughts of regrets will outweigh the existence of your faith.
However, I'm reminding you that the altitude that has been established for your to soar at, is patiently awaiting your arrival. There's a plane (Jesus) that's on its way for you. There's a Pilot (the Holy Spirit) who is ready to safely take you through the thick clouds and turbulence. There is an Air-hostess who will greet you and ensure that you have boarded safely. Take a seat in His will for your life, buckle up with faith, and enjoy the beautiful discomfort of FLYING ALONE!