I fly a lot. I promise I do enough other things to balance out how much I fly. All I wanted was to tell a story and already I’m feeling guilty about flying. Sigh. It’s a good thing this isn’t a story about a leather handbag.
For someone who has flown a lot, out of nowhere 2 years ago, I developed a sudden-insanity-inducing fear of flying. Not so much a fear of flying than a fear of falling. (If I had to point fingers (I won’t, but if I had to) it would be at Discovery’s choice of programming that I may have watched while IN a plane…)
Aaanyway. Scared of flying. To the extent where I vomitted all night on a trip from Cape Town to London. I have tried sleeping pills (a substantial amount), movies, books, mantra-ing, praying, meditation, denial. [Eventually I went to a hypnotherapist - which is a whole other story]
I just had a short trip from the Eastern Cape in South Africa to Cape Town. My usual shakes, sweat-dripping palms, scraping throat… And then – a &0 something year old African mama got into the seat next to me. She was beautiful, delicate, quiet. A a gentle face, shy eyes, flawlessly crafted cheekbones. She sat down and didn’t know how to put on her safety belt. I showed her. She looked up at me. It was her first flight and she was terrified and being so brave.
In one moment. It wasn’t about me anymore. Just her. And so. All my fear went away. Because there was something greater. I asked about her family. I told her about how planes work. About the sky. She told me about a funeral. And her granddaughter’s wedding. She laughed when we were above the clouds. She sat smiling watching the world change. Peace. She wasn’t scared any more.
And nor was I.
(thank you Catherine wherever you are)