Me and My Higher Power
And our on-again off-again relationship.
I am never more “religious” or more righteous and wanton in my belief in a higher power than on two occasions:
1. When I am in trouble (and I won’t expand upon the litany of possible scenarios); and
2. When I am flying.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and am grateful for this structure from my upbringing. Although I may have strayed from my devotion to organized religion as a whole over the years, I am nonetheless thankful for the sense of morality and tradition that such exposure has instilled. These days, I consider myself more of a spiritual being than a religious one. I certainly don’t knock or condemn anyone who feels otherwise, but I generally try to stay in my own lane and do what works - or makes sense - for me.
That is, until the occasion should arise where I might need to fall back on something a little bit more…. concrete.
I have a genuine fear of heights.
I am not a good “flyer”.
But I recognize it as a necessary evil to get one from here to there most expediently and expeditiously.
That said, whenever I board a plane, I rather unconsciously cross myself in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Even though They may solemnly feel that They owe me nothing. In fact, They may even feel less inclined to help a sister out after I’ve imbibed at least one glass of pre-flight courage in the form of red wine. Old habits die hard.
Once I’ve made it through take off and I’ve chewed my gum for every last microbe of flavour and texture and the plane is safely above the clouds, I keep up my mantra. It’s a mixture of things I’ve learned through meditation and of things my kids have said over they years. I sway back and forth in my head from “Ra ma da sa sa say so hung” to “it’s a nice day”, “the sun came out”, and “it’s just a bumpy bus”. If Hal is travelling with me, he gets the added bonus of me squeezing his leg or hand.
High in the stratosphere, beyond what I consider my Nannie’s cotton batting and in those rare moments of lucidity, there is an awesome appreciation of what “is”. I begin to channel Karen Carpenter singing “I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on Creation”. And isn’t that amazing? I’ve got a bird’s eye view of what lies beneath and it is so incredibly awe-inspiring and humbling…. Just like the sound of that baby laughing a few rows back. It’s like God and technology have combined to make me take a good honest look at myself and my surroundings and I’m compelled to surrender to it all.
I’m not in charge here.
I don’t know who is.
I can’t help but feel that somewhere along the line, there was a plan. Maybe it didn’t all go according to what was intended. But where we are and what we get to behold and enjoy is majestic and scary and crazy and fantastic.
And isn’t that something to just…absorb, digest and celebrate?
Everything in the world may be confusing and upside down right now. But there are some things - babies, airplanes, rainbows, laughter and yes, red wine - that not only connect us, but make us marvel… if we just take the time to appreciate them.
Life is good.
Squint beyond your fears, your preconceived notions and whatever you see on the internet and the nightly news.
See the beauty.
Feel the awesome.
Find the gratitude.
Accept the turbulence.
Enjoy the red wine.
About the Creator
Ms. Carroll is a 40-something year-old veteran public servant and mother of three adult children. She and her partner Hal live in Amherst NS with a sweet, anxiety-ridden rescue dog. Shelley loves running, red wine, and laughter.
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