The fear of flying is something I had for many years. I once told a colleague that if ever I needed to fly somewhere for the job I would suggest that someone else be sent in my place. The thought of flying just terrified me. I imagined he terror of the plane falling from the sky and the horror of knowing for a couple of minutes that your life is about to end in this devastating crash. Then one day I was offered a flight on a private passenger jet with a group of journalists, to fly down to Cape town and back from Johannesburg South Africa, a distance of 1600 Kilometers away. I decided to bite the bullet and go. I was 37 years of age and figured if the plane crashed and I died, at least I tried.
Well it didn’t crash obviously or I wouldn’t be writing this. As a result of breaking the ice on flying I began doing travel I had never contemplated before, but the fear was always there. As the plane took off my fists were clenched and perspiration was on my brow until the flight ended after touchdown, which was always a blessed relief.
Then one day I read a book about some chap who had a friend with the same problem I had. He asked his friend why he was so afraid of flying and the friend explained exactly what I had experienced. He said, “Well there lies the problem”, if he had the thought that he might die in a horrific plane crash before flying, he would be just as afraid. He told his friend that he looked forward to flying, because the thought that he would have a relaxing flight for at least and hour or two, when he could read or listen to music and be served refreshments by attractive, pleasant stewardesses which was something to look forward to.
After reading that I realised he was correct. The thought process was the problem that brought on the fear. It took me some self talking to, but I finally overcame my fear of flying. At next birthday I will be 80 years of age and have been on flights all over South Africa, to England a number of times, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I am so grateful to that chap who helped me conquer my fear. Just imagine how much enjoyment I have had compared to how much anxiety I would have endured.
Thoughts are either our enemy or our friend. This brings me to my age and the thoughts that prevail at this age. My wife passed away a couple of months ago. She was three months older than me. We have been married for over 56 years. The loss of her was devastating, as it was for our four children and seven grand children. There have been many deaths due to suicide or lack of interest in continuing to live when major setbacks like this occur, and I can understand why this is so, but today I listened to a couple of Christian sermons on television. The effect these sermons had on me was of a similar nature, in that I understand what Christ meant when He talked about death.
Death is the shedding of the physical body, which is inevitable, for the spiritual existence which is eternal. How much easier is it to accept that you will meet friends and family gone before you with God, the supreme creator, in a place where there is no pain and suffering, than to fear eternal oblivion.