Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hope's not giving up

(Originally written on September 1st, 2009)

Yesterday, the second day of my current three day trip, we had this beautiful dawn scene from the hotel van on the way to the airport. The promising, glorious light, framed by the dark and cold concrete, seemed to give me hope for a beautiful day. And we did have a nice, easy, and beautiful day of flying, from Rochester to Boston Mass to Indianapolis, Indiana, better known as 'Indy' or 'the Brickyard'.

The citrus toned sunrise gave way to a yellow sky and dark silhouetted wilderness and terrain on the way to very historic Boston. The air-port (get it?) is right next to the ocean bay there in Boston, and a very picturesque scene it is. I flew an enjoyable visual approach to runway 22L (towards the southwest), with the saltwater on my left and downtown Boston in front of us, slightly to our right. Dealing with a light crosswind from the right made me pay attention to what I was doing.

Inside the terminal I grabbed some breakfast and had time to read, think, and pray a bit. The mood was bright and friendly, and I noticed Boston business travelers with coffee and plans for the day. The flight to Indy (nonstop, surprisingly) had only 17 peeps, business fliers mostly.

While taxiing out on Boston's complex taxiways I snuck a peek and marveled at a huge, tall cruise ship docking at the nearby pier, it must have been eight stories up from the deck, with a sky bridge for the passengers too. After a takeoff in smooth air I activated the autopilot at 600 feet to enjoy the views during the climbout over the denizens and citizenry of 'Baasten'. They were no doubt still mourning and remembering Teddy Kennedy, who as we all know, perhaps too much so from cable news, recently passed on.

I supposed that many below were considering who will replace 'TK' and try to honor and carry on his legacy, over frank Boston talk and coffee (Boston 'coffee talk', if you will). If you disagree with Ted Kennedy's politics or life actions, so be it, but the man cared deeply about the common American, a good quality in any person regardless. Disclaimer over; it's my impression that Bostonians aren't afraid to say what's on their minds, aren't timid in expressing themselves, aren't hesitant to share their hopes and dreams for the future. Hope was becoming a theme for the morning in my emotions and my spirit.

Headed westbound later, at 30,000 feet and 515 MPH, we were running from the sun behind our backs, and appreciating the scene in the sky. Over central Pennsylvania, somewhere near Phillipsburg, we started picking up an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) siren loudly emitting on the emergency frequency (121.5 Mhz). My First Officer told New York Center, and the friendly voice responded "yea they had a little accident yesterday". Looking down it was all Appalachian ridges and mountains, relatively tall ones, seen between scattered cumulus in a loose formation below us. Together, my FO and I wondered what happened, and HOPED that they were OK, whatever did happen. When an ELT keeping going off, it means the ELT hasn't been turned off yet, for whatever reason. Survivors of accidents keep the ELT on many times so that rescuers can easily find the wreckage. The other possibility was that rescuers hadn’t reached the wreckage yet, and the survivors, well, there were none. We didn't ask if they were OK, I would have rather not known, would rather be confident in the HOPE that they were OK.

The loose formation of the scattered line of cumulus clouds arrayed in a long, curving path to the horizon below, produced by the properties of the airmass in the present weather; there is an order to them, I feel. It communicates an order, and is a sign in the sky that at this present moment leads somewhere, leads me in a spiritual urgency to realize that all humanity needs to, and does have an ultimate, highest hope in something or someone.

We all have a highest hope, one which we invest in more than any other for our future happiness and satisfaction in life, and in death. This is the realm of StarWars, Princess Leia type hope. Who can forget when she, in her sparkling white gown and huge headphone brunette hairdo, kneels in front of R2D2, and pleads “Obi-wan Kenobi, you are my only hope”, and thus records a hologram message she hopes will be delivered to him.

My highest hope is in Jesus Christ; you certainly know this by now if you’ve been following this blog. I could have my ‘only’ hope invested in an airline pilot career, in perusing wealth and material things, in a government or belief system, in a politician or President, in my spouse, in my children, in a hobby, in mankind to achieve a united world peace and order (secular Humanism), or any number of other things. But by experience and desire (that I believe the Holy Spirit has put in my heart), Jesus Christ is my Hope with a capital H. The Apostle Paul calls Jesus our hope in I Timothy 1:1.
Before expanding on this, I feel there are a couple interesting things about hope I'd like to express.
"Hope's not giving up, hope's not giving up; in the cold, dark night, hope's not giving, not giving up." A line in this song by Christian band Remedy Drive readily shows that the nature of hope is that it doesn't give up until proven otherwise. Clink the link to hear it.
Hope for it's own sake of hope amounts to vanity. Example: it's foolish to hope that it won't rain when the forecast is a 100% chance for it to do so. It's much better to invest hope in something tangible: an idea, an attitude, a philosophy, a belief system, a government, a religion, a God, a person, (a person who is God?).
What encompasses the hope I have in the hope that is Jesus Christ? I'll let John Piper explain it much better, from I Peter 1:3-13, and ‘The Power of Hope’, a 1981 Easter Sunday sermon on his blog, Desiring God.
My Hope, Jesus, gives me an ultimate purpose, meaning, and satisfaction, for this life and after this life. Sometimes, a lot of of the time if I'm honest, I don't know exactly what that purpose and meaning is, but I think it has something to do with the presence of my Holy Savior being lived out in me. The Holy Spirit gives me the power to permit that to happen. The trick is in doing it consistently and honestly, and for that, I have hope that in God's grace and mercy I will continue on that path.

Let me share one last scripture, and I'll go for now. From Hebrews 11:1: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. We can all have hope invested in something or someone, but invested in the incredible person of Jesus Christ we can have a living, loving faith. That is a hope that's not giving up.

No comments: