I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. – Solomon
Some principles are timeless and work across many situations. Lessons To Employ When It All Falls Apart is one of those. The basics that you can pull out of your pocket at a moment’s notice.
The ideas in this BLOG are from that genre. The first version was posted in August 2016; the second was shortly after Hurricane Harvey. Here we are again: a pandemic, another hurricane, not to mention the rest of the mess in the world.
Lessons To Employ When It All Falls Apart #1 – Things Will Go Wrong
Even when we endeavor to do it all right, things go wrong. Disappointments, crises, and even devastation do not discriminate. As they come around, we deal with them. As a pilot, we train for those times when, in spite of the best planning and precautions, things go wrong. It’s then we shout MAYDAY!
I was reminded of that reality watching the movie, Sully. For me, as a former air traffic controller, FAA accident investigator, and current private pilot it was more than just a good movie, it was visceral.
It epitomized the value of what to do when things go wrong: fly the airplane. To do this well, one must choose to resist the natural urge to:
- Sit down and cry
- Scream and holler
- Ask “why me?”
and so on, and so forth. None of these things are helpful or productive at that moment. It takes training, preparation and practice – ahead of time.
Lessons To Employ When It All Falls Apart Lesson #2 – Undeserved And Unwanted Challenges Will Come – Prepare
I remember a time when a friend called to cancel an appointment. Within 24 hours her life had completely unraveled as a result of a deep betrayal by a loved one.
It was the holidays and she found herself:
- looking for a lawyer
- a place to live
- dealing with the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” that flood one’s very being in these situations, rather than celebrating the season. My advice to her: Fly the airplane.
It’s the difference between crashing and burning or making a survivable landing. The plane may be gone but you are alive. There will be a time in the future for processing emotion, rearranging plans, dreams, and all that goes with these unjust unexpected events.
Even when you survive the landing in a spectacular way, as Captain Sully did, it does not minimize the trauma to one’s soul. But right now: Fly the Airplane
Lessons To Employ When It All Falls Apart #3 – Fly the Airplane!
So what do I mean when I say Fly the Airplane? If you are a pilot, you know what I mean. First responders to crises know what I mean, but to put it in everyday terms, here are a few recent lessons from our home:
- Pandemic Waves – Live each day, Put one foot in front of the other, take the one next step, and enjoy. Yes, take the precautions you have peace with. Respect as much as possible other’s boundaries and give grace in the process. Be informed, but avoid obsessing, speculating, and unknowns.
- Natural Disasters – Fires in the west, hurricanes to the east, life plans interrupted and constantly in flux. In the midst of this – fly the plane! Find a safe place with food and water and breathe. It may be ugly for a while, but if you fly the plane, you will come out the other side. If you are secure from the current wave of mother nature’s wrath, find a way to contribute. There are reputable organizations that will steward well your funds.
- World political upheaval – again, I endeavor to stay informed from sensible sources, but I refuse to listen constantly even to those. I pray, alone and with others of like mind. I do what I can and cast the care of the rest onto my Creator God.
In other words, take care of yourself and yours, stay focused, and do not become distracted by what you have you have no control over.
Bonus Lesson: Tap Into The Unseen Forces
When flying a plane in distress, there ARE forces you can tap into beyond a smooth running engine. In everyday life, tap into those unseen forces at your disposal. You know, the ones we ignore: prayer, bible reading, journaling*, laughter, reaching out to others.
No matter which end of the spectrum of experience you are at, we only have today. This moment. That is all we are created to handle – today – now
Stop, what ONE thing do you need to do today to Fly Your Plane? Just One. Now write it in the comments and then breathe. There, isn’t that better?
*One way to process the aftereffects is by writing it down. The Five Legacy Stories FREE opt-in below can help you focus and process. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or just want to “chat”!