It was one point of three the speaker made months ago at a conference I begrudgingly attended. The other two are lost on me now because I’m a bit rebellious sometimes and have a teensy attitude about taking notes.
Doubt -that was the context. That moment your child-like, near-blind faith is rocked for the first time and you’re left reeling because no one told you about this; No one told you that doubt happens. Hardships, maybe. Doubt? Never.
Expect turbulence. Because if you expect it, it’s less frightening?
If life is a journey then I suppose it only makes sense that tires go flat and engines blow and turbulence happens.
Expectations – that’s the problem. The false sense of security when everything is smooth sailing and we forget that it won’t always be that way. The constant reality-amnesia where we wake up expecting perfection. The children will not cry. The rain will not fall. The headache will not come. But they do.
And we’re so offended; how dare life be hard? How dare it not meet our expectations?
Is it possible to live in such a way that expectations don’t infiltrate and ruin the beauty of an imperfect life? Isn’t most of life beautiful only in pictures and hindsight?
We went camping and the pictures look nice but they don’t show the struggle. They don’t show the constantly whining seven year old, or the allergy-ridden nine year old, or the disobedient five year old. They don’t show the too small tent or the dirty feet or the mosquito bites.
But the truth is, pain and aggravation, they fade. Like child-birth, the pain of life is quickly forgotten when the sun comes out and the rainbow glitters and only the beauty and blessing is remembered clearly.
Maybe it’s not possible or healthy to live a life waiting for the turbulence, maybe that’s not the point. Living without disappointment has it’s appeal, but Scrooging your way through a life-time doesn’t seem much better.
That’s only half of the story, really. The truth to internalize, the lesson to learn – is that turbulence is temporary.
So when the cabin rocks, and I’m clinging desperately to the oxygen mask, and I’m sure the pain and fear will never end – it will. One way or another, the plane will come down. Maybe we land safely, or maybe it’s an emergency procedure, or maybe the damn thing crashes but the turbulence, it won’t last forever.
And eventually the panic and trauma will fade in my memory and, unthinkable horror of horrors, I might even find blessings in the wreckage. When the smoke clears, and the sun shines, and life in it’s full-spectrum reflects brilliantly off a mysterious spiritual prism.
So, by all means, let’s expect the turbulence. But when it comes, when life dips and shakes violently, let’s fasten our seat belt, hold on tight, close our eyes if we must, and remember – it’s only temporary.
The plane will come down.