I originally wrote this on the flight home from Alaska at the beginning of August, so it’s several weeks outdated being that we are now in Nebraska and Stephen is an official certified instrument pilot.
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There’s something about it– the hum of an airplane thousands of feet in the sky with a miniature world down below, the vibration of the window seat and the melodies that whisper through my earbud headphones. There’s a stillness up here, and something about it in which I can find myself again..
Alaska has been hard. I have struggled all summer to know what to say, and flying home in the very back seat of the plane with rugged terrain below me, I leave this place knowing Alaska has grown me.
Evening sun casts shadows on the mountain range. Blue meets white long in the distance of a vast, vast world. The sight leaves me breathless.
Summer has taught us a lot… about ourselves, about each other, about faith and trust and surrender to the One who knows best. We have been stretched beyond our limits, faced to confront the selfishness, pride, and doubt that easily grows within our hearts. We have been left amazed by Alaska, and the One who breathed it into creation. We’ve been challenged to be clay in the Potter’s hands, more ply-able as the days and seasons pass.
The beauty is always in the looking back… at least, the deep and raw kind that I’ve come to love. Always in the looking back.
In many ways it feels as though we have limped through the summer, crossing the finish line barely able to say “We survived.” Two and a half months are a blur of days and experiences and hurts and challenges and joys I feel I will find myself sorting through during the months to come.
It’s been a summer of flight training and aviation talk and attempting to grasp what it means and causes and costs to be a pilot’s wife. It’s been a summer of flight lessons and a busy husband and me crying, overwhelmed at the thought of this being the rest of my life, and can I be okay with that?
Surrender has been a bitter taste on the back of my tongue this summer. Because suddenly I am left with the weight of the thought: what if this costs everything I am, everything I want, everything I deeply love and dream big about? What if this.. this being a pilot’s wife.. costs everything?
Whispy thin clouds pass beneath us, and through the haze you can see the water cutting though the jagged mountains down below. Alaska, in all its beauty, overwhelms me.
I still wrestle with the question. I still fight and I still struggle. The core of it is my heart, struggling to make Him my everything, begging Him amidst the fight, “Do not let me leave here unchanged..”
Stephen has worked some very long and very hard hours this summer, something I fail to fully appreciate again and again. He’s given this instrument training thing 110% of what he’s got, while still trying to keep up with me and keep up with life and keep his heart fixed on why he’s doing all the training and the flying. He’s been a bleary-eyed, nose-in-the-books, aviation junky this summer, and while he has SO enjoyed the training and we are thankful for it, I think we are both ready for the change of pace and focus that awaits us in Haiti.
The horizon blurs in a hue of colors– the purples and yellows and blues each running into the other. The snow caps are less and less on the mountaintops that begin to hide beneath the fog. The sun sets behind us.
At the time I originally wrote this, Stephen had his checkride scheduled for a Friday. Since then, the weeks have passed and so have his long study days. He’s officially instrument certified, and has successful passed his big oral test and actual flight test! This means he can fly in the clouds now, using the gauges and instruments on the plane to navigate. It’s no small accomplishment; in fact it’s a pretty big and difficult one. He leaves me impressed and amazed, thankful to call him mine. He has many stories from the summer, much different than mine. So maybe once he re-coops from his whirlwind of a summer, he will be able to have the time to find his voice here on this little blog.
Until then, we are enjoying Nebraska, seeing sweet and dear people, road-tripping, and warm summertime weather.