For the love of turbulence.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of air travel recently. I’ve previously discussed my mild aversion to flying and the fact that I analyze the likelihood of something going wrong based on the juiciness of the headline that will be produced by such an event.  It’s not normal but it’s also not changed.

What has changed, though, is the fact that one of my children also tends to overreact a teeny little bit any time there is a bump in the trip.  I understand it as I have been known to hear a tiny sound late in a flight and turn wild-eyed to my husband asking…


He never takes his eyes off his reading material to say…

“Landing gear, Suz…pretty important to get that lowered rather than just skidding this bird down on her belly…”

I then proceed to tell him that sarcasm is the most dangerous of all of the languages we can use with our spouse but whatever Mr. Airplane Know-It-All.

So back to my child.  What I’ve learned is that my propensity to have such a panic attack and grip the armrest as if I will then gain control of the aircraft by sheer force does NOT help my aforementioned also slightly panic-y daughter relax.  On the contrary, it sends her ballistic.

So I have become skilled at appearing very zen and smiling non-joker style to convince her that the turbulence is “ohhhh totally normal and nothing to worry about” when inside I’m cursing myself for not telling anyone that I’d like an open bar at my funeral because gosh darn it I want my friends to have some fun on my way out.

On our most recent family trip we hit a few patches of bumpy air and I could literally feel the eyes of my daughter boring into me from across the aisle and four seats over as she studied me for any sign of a twitch or bead of sweat to form from any single pore on my body.  I even heard her draw in her breath trying to smell my fear.

I did not budge.

Until…the one BIG bump.  You know the bump I’m talking about if you’ve flown a few times.  It was followed by many smaller yet very bumpy bumps.

Sidenote: I was once telling my pilot friend Terry that I particularly hated those drops on airplanes when “you just know the plane had to have dropped like 10 feet in the air all at once.”  When I got done talking I fully expected him to tell me that my thought was crazy “because air travel is the safest of all the travels and blah blah blah don’t worry…”  What actually happened is that Terry started laughing very loudly and said something along the lines of…”Ten feet?!?!  If you feel it it’s at least a few hundred feet.”

Ohhhh…thank you. That was super comforting, Terry.

Anyway, back to the big bump. I had just thrown out my zen-plan and was in the process of formulating my panic and subsequent plea for explanation from Jason (who should of course be able to fully explain the bump because his dad was a pilot AND an air traffic controller and if that knowledge isn’t passed on genetically then WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE?!….) when I heard something to my left from the seat where my youngest daughter was sitting by the window.

“THIS IS AWESOME!  DO IT AGAIN! DO IT AGAIN!”  she literally squealed.

As the bumps continued to come she laughed hysterically and started saying…

“WEEEEEEEEE!!!  It’s like a roller coaster!!  MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!”  as she bobbed up and down in her seat with her hands waving in the air.

And that was it…my panic subsided and I watched her ride these bumps with a totally new perspective.  I knew it was a great metaphor for so much more than that plane ride.

It got me thinking about the fact that our need for control…our firm grip on the armrest of life’s troubles and trips, probably gets in our way of enjoying the ride.

The difference between my youngest and me on that flight was that she knew where the pilot told us we were going and she TRUSTED that he would deliver on that promise. She knew he had done the hard work and the training to learn to fly that aircraft and she BELIEVED that it would ensure that we would end up where he told us we would end up.

Which makes me think in an even bigger picture. Our God has been clear in his assurances that he has done the hard work for us.  (John 3:16). He has asked us not to be afraid and has promised to deliver us to our destination. (Luke 12:32)

All we have left to do is TRUST and BELIEVE.  To loosen our grip that we all know, in no way, shape or form, will alter the course from where HE has decided our path will lead.

The Faith to enjoy the roller coaster ride.  Oh, how hard to remember.

About 15 minutes into that turbulent patch, it did indeed subside and shortly thereafter my youngest tugged fairly violently on my sleeve.  I turned to look at her and noticed her eyes were a bit nervous and a little bit of her own panic had crept across that previously joy-filled face.

My disappointment grew as I was certain her own fear had overtaken her love of the ride and I’d have to shift from admiring her fun to calming her worries.

“What’s wrong???”  I asked her with a little bit of dread.

With shaky voice she replied…

“Mom…The pee is about to come out of my pee-hole right now.”

Fair enough.  Even in our zen-like state, the bladder rules supreme.



  1. Ream, Kimberly says:

    Love this!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Jolene Conway says:

    Aaauuuggghhhhh!!!! Love this so much!!!! Once again your writing skills are absolutely incredible. So impressed my friend!

    Jolene Conway

    Dible Dough, LLC 660-864-3479


  3. Sandy lake says:

    Left me smiling!

  4. Charlotte Stelling says:

    AWESOME story & so true that many times we can even learn from a 👶

  5. Susanna says:

    Awesome as always! Love the way you blend life, lessons, and laughs.

  6. Kendall says:

    Mrs. Allen would be so extremely proud of your writing skills! Anywho, I thought you made me feel things a bit different. Loved it!

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