Keep calm, it won’t last forever.

Good morning, Philippines! I’m back. And I’m so grateful to be back home on terra firma.

Flew our nation’s carrier from Los Angeles (love your own and I never take any other airline) and as usual the crew was gracious in their service. The food was good, but unfortunately we had no entertainment systems for 14 hours. Imagine that.

It’s a good thing the pandemic taught us all to be still. No one complained which I thought was terrific. And then there was the turbulence. Pretty nasty! Two whole stretches of 30 minutes each where it felt like we were in a mixer bottle shaken sideways and up and down. I was looking for the pilot’s comforting voice (“Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen we are expecting some turbulence ahead…”) which usually happens but this time nada. After all became quiet, I scribbled down my thoughts to calm myself down. Turbulence does happen – in life, as in a pandemic, and in the air. It is expected. Air travel they say, will get even bumpier because of more nasty jet streams due to global warming. Life isn’t always easy. How do we sit through the turbulence? Here’s what I’ve found works.

  1. Close your eyes. Don’t look around because you’ll get dizzy. Closing your eyes shuts everything out. To quiet the mind, pray. Focus on something else other than the shaking and rattling of the plane.
  2. Hold on to a loved one’s hand only for as long as they want to. Remember not to put too much pressure, or to force them to keep holding your hand. Each person responds to turbulence differently. Some will want to reach out, while some will want to just sit quietly by themselves.
  3. Think back on past experiences of turbulence, and remember how you made it through. The worst turbulence I experienced lasted a full hour! It was interminable! What helps me is looking at my watch, and counting the minutes. Reminding myself that this won’t last forever, that it will be over soon. “I made it through another day…” Ten minutes, 20, 30… then the rattling and shaking ceases.
  4. Trust the pilot. In times of turbulence, the pilot will try to bring the plane into a space that is quiet and clear. You need to trust that in the shaking, there is progress, and growth.
  5. Give thanks. Always, in all ways. After every turbulent episode we pray silently and give thanks to the One who carries us through. In times of turbulence or stress, I always ask, “Father, please carry me safely to where you need me to be in next.”

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