The unforgettable plane ride

At this very moment a terrifyingly loud toddler is digging his or her shoes into the back of my seat on my flight from Los Angeles to Denver while the wee one alternates between ear piercing shrieking and crying. I’m a grandma. I love little ones. I can even relate to the poor parents crammed into just two seats with what feels like a pretty big not quite two year old on their laps. Nowhere to move to and the flight still has hours to go. . .

I was actually hoping to be seated by the 9 month old pug puppy owner. We had exchanged pleasantries in the waiting area as I shared with her my love of pugs and that at one point I had owned three at once! Even that adorable teeny ball of fur had a barking fit while waiting to board, but definitely his yelps were less invasive into the surrounding area than the noisy kid behind me.

Looking out at HaShem’s awesome landscapes from 30,000 feet up is definitely helping. Yet I can’t help but realize how hard I am working to not feel irritated. Even cutting myself some slack for lack of sleep and jet lag, I still was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t better ignore the repeated kicking of my seat back.

Emotions are just that. We can’t, and actually shouldn’t, ignore them. I am grateful that generally my emotional wiring is pretty chilled out, but I’m only human, so when tired, such shrieking (he or she just did it again!) feels worse than were it happening at a time when I was more rested. In helping my better angels quiet my tired ones, I thought back to those many flights I had been on when my little ones were young and how hard it was to keep them from annoying those around them. The good news for the child is the parents don’t seem the least bit annoyed. I hear them telling the child to stop the unwanted behavior, but I don’t hear any raised voices. Maybe they are used to this behavior or they are smart enough to know there is nothing they can do about it at the moment. The space between rows is too small to keep those feet off of my chair back. Their nonchalance actually seems to help somewhat in quieting the child who hopefully at some point will realize that screaming accomplishes nothing.

Time to look out the window again. It’s not hard to feel HaShem’s presence with the awe inspiring view. The repeated kicking is almost not noticeable as I lose myself in the grandeur of America’s western topography – mountains, rivers, desert, clear sky. Listening to my Messianic music would have been another weapon against negativity had my ear phones not lost their charge, but I hummed some favorites in my head as a next best alternative.

Writing to you is now completing the relaxation as I reconnect with you, my spiritual brothers and sisters, as I put my mind on HaShem in the center of it all. How hard it must be to love each of us at times. We must disappoint Him often with some of our life choices, some of the unkind ways we treat His creations, our thoughtlessness causing pain to others not unlike the toddler making my ride a challenging experience. How often we ignore His teachings, just as the child ignores his parents’ requests to stop kicking my seat. At least the shrieking seatback offender is a baby and presumably will not be acting this way as the years unfold. Yet good behavior is relative. As adults we no longer have tantrums on airplanes, but we do often argue loudly to get our way, say unkind words, even yell them, or play our music too loudly, uncaring of those around us. We may not kick but we may walk away from another in anger, or assault our environment by thoughtless use of our limited resources.

The toddler’s parents are acting in love to their child at a time when the young one is hard to love, just as our Abba loves us no matter how poorly we act. The child’s parents will guide him or her over time to be a better person, just as HaShem has given us His Word, Torah, teachers and mentors to help us walk in His way. He even enfleshed Himself through Yeshua to help us understand His teachings even more intimately, providing a divine/human model challenging us to understand more profoundly. His model of sacrificial love, if seen, can bring these parents through their hard times more easily as father and mother as they are reminded of our Abba’s sacrifices for us, including to any parent, the unthinkable, His ultimate sacrifice of His Son. With Him, respite arrives, to remind, renew and restore all of us. As I look out the window, speak with Him, reflect on His teachings, see His model in others, I embrace the gift this experience has brought me. No longer irritated, I am now closer to Him, feeling His peace descend upon me.

How odd that I don’t seem to notice the kicks or shrieks. Have they stopped? Or am I transformed through His love of me to love others as He loves us?

Shabbat shalom.

P.S. As I deplaned I looked behind me to see the most adorable little 16 month old girl waving and smiling to me. Her mom and dad were profusely apologizing for the kicks, but explained they did all they could to keep her from playing with my long hair which apparently was teasingly showing between the seat backs. Could have been worse! The child’s smile completed the melting of my heart as His love worked the situation to its fullness, growing all of us closer to understanding how to divinely love.

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