Okay. So, many of you know that I love all things airplanes, air travel, aviation. I currently work for a commercial airline in my hometown at our small regional airport. Being surrounded by something that I love so much has been an absolute joy. I mean, the travel benefits are great. But being able to help people in a very tangible way? To help them travel… weddings, graduations, new grandbabies, even long lost family… it makes my heart happy. It’s why I do what I do.
Quite often in my life, I find myself referring to the aviation world in something… making a silly analogy… being ridiculously obsessed with airplanes… all of that. But last Sunday, when I read my parents the long essay of my last post (it was my mom’s Mother’s Day gift), a short while after I finished, I kind of jokingly made an airplane analogy about my current situation. But then I realized… it’s actually so, SO fitting. It makes so much sense. And no, I’m not just saying that because I really like airplanes…
What I said to them is that in this crazy journey, this journey of growing and learning and healing, this journey that I never ever dreamed would even come… I compared where I am at in this very moment to an airplane that has just landed and is taxiing to the gate. It is on the ground, so the bulk of the journey has ended. For someone who has a lot of anxiety with flying, one could say that the worst of the journey has ended. But… it’s not quite over.
So then in looking at my own life, I see it as this. I never thought my airplane would land – I really didn’t. But here I am, in awe and overjoyed at what God has done… my plane is back on the ground. (Side note – I’m smiling now, thinking of all the times I do a happy dance at work as a customer service agent when I get the call on the radio that my inbound aircraft is on the ground. Talk about the ultimate happy dance in my life right now, yeah??!) I’m not at the gate yet, and I don’t know when that will happen. I mean, as Christians I think we can ask ourselves if that will ever really, truly, FULLY happen before we go to be with Him in heaven. In some ways, it won’t. But in some ways it will, and that is a gift from the Lord that I will cherish each and every day, no matter which parts of my life can pull up to the jet bridge here on earth and which parts of my life finally come to a complete stop on the day that He takes me home.
I am realizing more and more that all of my learning and healing has far LESS to do with any physical components of my depression and far MORE to do with the emotional/spiritual aspect. I know that there is definitely some kind of physical component, some kind of chemical imbalance. And God may or may not heal that in this life. However, what I DO know – what I have been experiencing over the last few months – is that He wants to set me free. He wants to set US free. And from what? From the bondage of shame. From the bondage of making our struggles, particularly mental illness, into a huge and unnecessary burden that we were never meant to carry, let alone carry alone. He has wanted to free me of the shame that has kept my tool box of coping skills locked up for so long. Because the symptoms of very real clinical depression? They still come. They will still come. But the difference is that now I feel safe enough… goodness, dare I even say worthy enough to unlock that tool box so that I can make it through each day.
This is still all so very surreal. I keep saying over and over how I never thought I would find myself here, and I am so serious when I say that. The last few months have been a completely miraculous gift, a gift that I will cherish for as long as I live. I know I still have a long way to go… it may be a taxi experience similar to STS (Santa Rosa), where it’s just a matter of pulling up to the gate… it may be a taxi experience similar to SFO, where you land and due to horrible ATC and flow out on the runways it takes what feels like FOREVER to get parked at your gate.
But regardless? I am safely on the ground.
And God is good.