Flying scares me. Yeah, I know it’s safer than driving, and a person’s more likely to die from a bee sting than a plane crash, but it still scares me.
I’ve been reading Charles Duhigg’s book Smarter Faster Better, and he spends a lot of time in Chapter 3 reviewing the cause of a plane crash. And it’s really bugging me.
It took the pilots three minutes to lose total control of the aircraft, and the worst part is if they would have done nothing when the alarm first sounded, they would have probably been okay. It was one error after another and an inability to focus on the things that really mattered that led their plane into the Atlantic.
And that freaks me out—it scares me more than planes.
A downward spiral, one mistake after another, and a misleading blinking light that’s telling you to pull up and run instead of put your nose down and face it head on. The blinking light—that’s what you see, not the ten other gauges showing you the simple answer to your problem.
It scares me how a smart, strong person could lose sight of truth like that. It doesn’t just happen in planes, does it?
It happens every time we forget our priorities—when we forget how things should look—when we react instead of respond. It rides on the wings of resolutions not kept, dreams forgotten, and smart excuses that make perfect sense.
It’s not really about the mistakes made. It’s about missing the point.
Right before the plane crashed the pilot asked, “How did this happen?” He really had no clue. The plane fell 37,000 feet and he didn’t realize it.
I think people do that with their lives. They live their lives falling and never realize it. Addiction, lies, challenges, mediocrity, and one day they find it’s over, and they never really did anything with it.
That scares me.
I want to add a line in here about how God helps us and makes it okay, but I can’t. That’s not guaranteed just because He’s loving and cares. The prodigal son still had to come home. Those guys with the “talents” still had to do something with them.
We make choices, and those choices play a part in where we end up. I think God can help us make the right choices, but even in that we must choose to set aside our own understanding and seek him. In the plane scenario, the pilot could have waited for the Captain (who was resting), but he didn’t. He did what he thought was best, and he was wrong.
And I wonder where am I doing that? Where in my life do I think I know better? Where am I falling and don’t even realize it?
We can’t do this alone. No amount of understanding, list making, or planning will save us when we are focusing on the wrong things. But the good news is we don’t have to be alone. Ever. There is hope for the falling.