I leaned back in the leather seat of my Cessna 182 and watched the earth fly by below me. So this is what God must feel like when he rides the winds. So this is what it’s like to be a God, riding the wings of the winds above the heads of mortal man.
According to the FAA, the flight plan I was following was devoid of traffic so it was just me and God. I wouldn’t be colliding with or intersecting any other aircraft. I was completely alone up here, except for me and HIM. What an awesome feeling. How powerful this made me feel being so close to heaven, so close to God himself, feeling like a God! If only I could stay up here but a have to get to work in the morning.
There was no moon out tonight so I relied on the light from the navigation tower finally coming up ahead to be my guide. I was only miles from landing now. The end of my isolation and communion with God was in sight, darn it. I checked out with the FAA and went into a glide path towards the landing strip. All the control tower staff had gone home six hours ago, so I planned on carefully gliding down and putting my baby in her bunker myself before heading home.
What was that? It was silent up here to begin with but it suddenly got quieter. My engine died! This isn’t good. Something swelled up in my stomach creating a heavy sensation of impending doom: the doom of my plane. I spent too much money and time on this baby I wasn’t about to see her get smashed up. I attempted my best to restart the engine, checking the gas, ignition, throttle, carburetor for ice I couldn’t find a thing wrong or helpful. I didn’t have enough altitude to restart. The present image of the earth rising up to meet me would haunt my dreams for the rest of my life, which I was guessing was only a heartbeat away. And I’d just gotten a new paint job! I scanned the dark region for a soft landing spot. Right. I had to pick an airport out in the boonies, now I know why it was cheap. Nothing but mesquite swampland lie beneath me. All I could do now was control air speed. I didn’t have time to reconnect with the FAA to inform them of my situation, I was off their radar. I expertly nosed the plane up and skidded over the mesquite tree tops to a stop going from70 miles per hour to zilch. Every thing in the cabin rattled and shook, bouncing me around like a rag doll.
Seconds passed that seemed like hours. I took a lung full of air, well I actually filled both lungs. No pain. I raised my legs and arms. They moved appropriately. I rotated my head, nothing snapped, then I moved my arms and legs again. No paralysis. No free pumping blood. Nothing smarted. What a relief! I looked out the window. My wings which were normally out to the side were bent up to the sky allowing the gas tanks to drain explosive fuel onto my hot engine, not a good combination. Time to abandon ship…er…plane! I grabbed my duffle bag on the adjoining seat and jumped out. Nope, the door was jammed against the tree I was dangling from forcing me to crawl across the plane to push open the opposite door. I fell face first into the mesquite swamp a couple of feet below me.
Gathering my balance I ran, if you call dodging small bushes as I tripped over submerged twigs and branches while my feet sank into the muck, running. It wouldn’t qualify me for the Olympics (well maybe the special Olympics) but I did manage to distance myself from any detonations. None came. If there had been a night crew at the airport they’d have called for help. But no, they had to have bankers hours. I think I’ll be looking for another place to park my plane. Oh, wait. I might not have a plane anymore. I saved myself but without my plane life had no meaning!
On through the moonless midnight swamp I went. Things moved in the water around me, I couldn’t tell if they were moving towards or away from me. Thankfully in my hurry to evacuate to safety, I left my flashlight on the plane so I could remain ignorant of the perils lurking about. I did have a plan however, which apparently was to wander about aimlessly in the dark. I heard a coyote howl then yap in exultation, having caught his dinner which whimpered one last time. I just wanted to get to the airport, my car, then home where I could get my wife to feel sorry for me.
I was being shredded by briars and floating debris. I heard a low pitched vibrating sound to my left side right before something landed on my head scaring the …..something wet, out of me, that mixed with the waist high sewage smelling water. Cold scaly flesh covered my eyes and nose, little claws scrambled for a foot hold then with another croak the frog leapt off, but not before I lost my balance and flopped down into more deep mush. A branch floated by while I tried to regain my footing. I reached for it to use as a cane to help me up. The branch had eyes and wiggled; and it wiggled right up my arms! With a hasty swing of my opposite hand I sent the snake hurtling through space and distanced myself some more. Yucky, yuck.
I could see the lighted runway now. I was almost home free, except for a twelve foot high fence lined with barbed wire standing between me and my transportation. This was just great, was God going to give me any breaks tonight? I followed the fence for several feet till I came to a tree growing next to it directly across from my own car, the only car in the lot. Here goes. I used to climb as a young boy, let’s see if I can still do it. I tossed my duffel bag, (that contained my now not so clean emergency underwear) to the other side, pulled myself up the tree and over…..whoosh, I landed on the hood of my Jaguar and rolled to the ground. It adequately broke my fall, I was still unharmed, except for the scratches I‘d acquired maneuvering through the quagmire. Now I had a totaled plane and dented car, not to mention jeans ripped by barbed wire in a most immodest spot. Thanks God! (this was said sarcastically.)
The next morning as I was readying for work, (it’s unbelievable how I crashed a plane without having to call into work dead) I was fuming about my misfortunes to my lovely spouse. I was infuriated with God for ditching me in mid air. We were soul buddies and he let me down… literally and without a working engine! I was not using his name virtuously, my wife informed me, and I had better think twice about my situation lest I was struck by lightening. I scoffed. She stepped away from me, not wanting to be singed by association. I told her to not be foolish, it was obvious I was immortal. It certainly wasn’t my time yet, as last night had certainly demonstrated, It was just my plane‘s time, which was why I was so livid. I grabbed my suit for work and headed to the bathroom. On the way to my morning toiletries as I recalled (once again!) my plane sitting in the marshy waters, I kicked the cedar chest in the hallway in misdirected anger. Oooow! Great, I survived a plane crash, marsh march (where I probably contracted malaria), handled a snake, (probably a poisonous one), was attacked by a rabid frog, forced to hurdle a barb wired fence,( that was probably electrified), then I break my toe in my own hallway! Where the heck is God this week!