Saturday, September 16, 2006
Fear of flying
I’ve traveled quite a bit in my 38 years, both for business and for pleasure. You’d think by now I’d be over my fear of flying. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give in to my fear by not flying, but it’s a struggle.
Yesterday, as I headed back home from my most recent business trip, the fear resurged again the instant the airplane began its take-off. As we began taxiing down the runway with neck-breaking speed, my heart lurched, I gripped the arms of my seat, and I repeated my prayer, “God, please allow us all get home safely!” As the plane cut up at a sharp angle into the sky, leaving the reassuring solidness of the ground, I broke out in a sweat and felt clammy all at once. My stomach felt a bit nauseous.
My mind began racing with random thoughts. I told Oronzo that I loved him just before I boarded the plane, right? If something happens to me, Snuggle Bug will know how much I loved him, right? All my affairs are in order, I think. God, please forgive me for my sins! I don’t want to plummet to my death in a horrible plane crash, surrounded by strangers , I have so much living to do yet! Did I tell Oronzo of my recent Blogger password change? I meant to tell him he could share my blog with my family if something happens to me. Climbing up into the sky at an alarming speed in a very heavy metal object just doesn’t feel natural. Why is there so much turbulence? Is the plane falling apart around us?! I wish the guy in the window seat next to me would slide the shutter down so I don’t have to see the ground beneath us from such a steep angle and getting farther and farther away. I’m closing my eyes now. God, please let us get home safely!
Once we got level in the sky, I stopped sweating and the chills passed. I was able to concentrate on the magazine I was reading and even managed to relax a bit and take a few sips of water. I don’t typically eat anything while flying. It’s safer if I don’t. I even took a few peeks out of the window and saw the checkerboard landscape beneath us and the fluffy white clouds all around.
Landing in the plane didn’t bother me nearly as much as take-off, but listening to the ear-splitting thunder of the brakes working frantically to slow down the momentum of the plane to a stop alarmed me a bit. It always feels as though we’re going to be flung into the nearest building because the plane couldn’t slow down in time. Thankfully this flight went well and I arrived home safe and sound to a smiling little boy and a grateful husband, both happy to see me again. Thank you, God, I thought as I reached out to each of them.
I think the biggest reason I dislike connecting flights so much is because I have to be subjected to these moments of panic more than once in one day!
My fear of flying is diminished greatly when I’m traveling with Oronzo. There’s something comforting in knowing that if we crash, I won’t be alone, I’ll have him to hold my hand. I know, it’s rather a selfish thought but there you have it.
I’ve heard that flying is much safer than driving a car, and I’m sure it’s probably true. But when I’m sitting in my seat, feeling as though the back of my chair is flat against the floor of the plane because of the crazy angle of ascent and my entire body is shaking due to the vibrations of the plane as it labors up farther and farther into the sky, I’m not feeling very safe!
So, is there anyone else out there that has a lingering fear of flying that you just can’t overcome? How do you cope? Please tell me I’m not alone in this.