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(By Janine Folks)

I am not a frequent flyer on airplanes. So when I do fly, I pay close attention. On my most recent flight, I observed parallels between the elevation of a plan and elevation in life. We all want to be elevated. It’s the normal progression of things.  We want to go higher to achieve higher heights. Approaching the runway is calm. There is anticipation as we anxiously wait to speed up and take off.  Life is calm before elevation. You know elevation is coming and you wait anxiously.

The speed is exhilarating. When the plane lifts and the ground surface is removed from underneath you, you rely on the forces of the scientifically manipulated air to keep you suspended. And of course, you pray without ceasing! As the plane rises, it feels wobbly and bumpy. They call it turbulence. This is normal as the aircraft adjusts to the change in altitude. Pressure changes and it may cause your body to react with popping ears.

As you elevate in life, it’s rocky in the beginning as you and those around you adjust to your new position. Pressure increases and it may have many different affects on you.  You must buckle up with your seatbelt on during this time. As you go higher, things begin to stabilize. This can take a while. You’re then allowed to removed your seatbelt and walk to the restroom if needed. Calm returns. Even here, the plane can still run into air that causes periodic turbulence. One thing you have to remember is: turbulence does not necessarily mean you are going to crash. It helps when you are warned about oncoming turbulence.

In life, turbulent times do not mean you will crash. It just means ‘brace yourself,’ and ride it out. Rough patches are bound to hit here and there. Be cautious, but don’t panic.

While you’re riding high, be sure to enjoy the view! Get a window seat if you can and take it all in! Some would rather be distracted and remain oblivious to the altitude, but some of us like to see as much as we can. While we wait, we can remain productive by thinking, reading and writing or even getting some good rest during the elevated ride.

Then there is the descent and the landing. I’ve heard landing described as a ‘controlled crash.’ If you are going to crash, let it be controlled and safe. An uncontrolled crash could injure or destroy you. Skillful landing is critical. Going down requires adjustment just like the ascent, but in reverse order.  There is turbulence. Ears pop due to changes in atmospheric pressure. You must buckle up during this process just like during the ascent. When those wheels touch the ground, there is a sigh of relief and gratitude. “Thank You Jesus!” Close your eyes and say it every time you make it safely.

Life is a ride. Make sure you enjoy it. Sit by the window and look! Observe His creation. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of thereof…” (Psalm 24:1) He made it for us to see and enjoy. Be content in every circumstance at every phase (Phil. 4:11). Enjoy elevation and enjoy landing. It’s all a blessing, cycles of life.

God bless you. Email Janine at voiceoftransition@gmail.com.


Janine Folks - Spiritual Columnist

About Janine Folks - Spiritual Columnist

Janine Folks is a licensed and ordained minister, inspirational writer of a weekly newspaper column, columnist for a national Christian magazine, self-published author of several books, and co-founder of a women’s prayer group called Women of Transition. Janine holds a B. A. in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Business, Sociology and Communications from the University of Michigan. Janine has studied Clinical Pastoral Education in Detroit, MI and works as a chaplain in the medical field. An avid roller skater, 2013 recipient of a Spirit of Esther Award from the Alliance of Women in Ministry, Janine lives in Michigan is a mother of three.