Are Your Coping Mechanisms in Place?

UP, UP AND AWAY!  We’ve spent a lot of time in planes these past two years.  Because of our job, we have the opportunity to visit many countries, as we support our Young Life ministries throughout Europe.  Sometimes we are able to drive to where we are going….but then there are  those times, when we need to board a plane and soar through the deep blue skies.


When Fear or Anxiety surfaces!  While most people either love flying or really don’t think about it much….I am one of those folks that have some sort of fear.  I find this quiet interesting, since all I ever wanted to be, growing up, was a flight attendant.  My father was a pilot for United Airlines for over 30 yrs. and I was sure I would, one day, be up there in the skies with him.

If you are like me…what helps you get through the anxiety you feel while flying?

 I’m usually ok, but I have a few Coping Mechanisms or rituals I go through each time there is turbulence or a noise that freaks me out:

  1. First thing….I tell myself…there’s nothing I can do to change what’s ahead.  I trust that I am in God’s hands no matter what.
  2. “Think of it like being on a bumpy road! ” Words from my Dad, the pilot.  He always says, that planes do not crash from turbulence. After living in Haiti for years, I totally can envision this!
  3. Movies become my friend!  I’ve been known to watch 5 movies in a row on our longer flights.  I try reading, but can be easily distracted.
  4. A glass of wine never hurts!
  5. My husband’s arm becomes a place of comfort to hold on to – if he’s with me.  Why do I do this?   Do I think that Brent can save me?
  6. I watch the flight attendants.  Some how, their calmness helps me to be calm.
  7. And finally….my new coping mechanism!   On a recent flight, our landing was quiet rough.  As we got closer and closer to the runway, the turbulence increased, sending my heart into a bit of a dance.  As we finally touched the ground, the most breath-taking event happened.  A little girl sitting behind me began to laugh and clap her hands.  You see, for her, this was an exhilarating ride – like one you would find at Disney World.  She loved the plane moving from side to side.  The more movement, the better.  She exhibited pure delight.  There was absolutely no fear to be found in this precious little one.  I sat there, breathed deep and smiled.

They work!  We just returned from Spain and of course it was a rough flight.  I went through each of my coping mechnisms…except the wine this time….and it helped.

I’m learning a lot about  these systems we put in place to deal with the life we live – and how important they can be.   Now that’s something for another day…but for now….its smooth sailing!