|Not long ago, on a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, my plane lost an engine...|
It didn't actually get "lost." We knew where it was. Located right beneath my seat in row 36. Apparently, however, it simply gave up, coughed, shook the plane in its final death grasp and then whistled out to nothing.
Of course, in a commercial airliner, a passenger doesn't actually know that the engine has died. Especially when watching a movie on the tiny airplane screen. And especially after waiting seven hours to get on their delayed flight.
Yes, the plane shuddered, but since we still hung above the clouds, I didn't suspect that the pilots might be frantically trying to keep the plane from nosing into a Nebraska cornfield.
Not until, however, they came over the loudspeaker with the words, "Don't Panic."
Never a good statement, especially 10,000+ (feet? Miles? Knots? I never know what the magic 10K means. I just know I can turn on my computer at this point and keep writing). As the pilot came on with his first, "Remain Calm, Don't Panic" words, I pulled my earphone from my ear and heard, "We lost an engine and have to return to LAX. But don't worry, your Flight Attendants know what they are doing. Again, Remain Calm and Don't Panic."
I'm not sure anyone heard them after the "lost an engine" part.
Thankfully, the Flight Attendants did know what they were doing and began to cruise up and down the aisles assuring us all that we would live through this.
Especially after the pilot came on with another "Don't Panic" speech and told us to prepare for a crash landing.
Here are some little known facts about preparing for a Crash Landing.
1. You have to take off all your sharp and constricting objects, like scarves, ties and glasses. So you don't strangle, or blind yourself. That's a comforting thought.
2. You have to assume the CORRECT crash position, with your head below your knotted (in prayer) hands. There is a test on this.
3. You may have to leave your belongings on the plane. (Especially, I suppose if it is in parts on the tarmac). I quickly shoved my license, (so I could be easily identified), my credit card (in case I lived and needed to check into a Hilton) and my phone (because, well, I needed to update my Facebook status, right?) into my pocket.
4. There is a LONG time between taking the crash position and actually...crashing. Or, in our case, landing with emphasis. During this time, I made contact with the passengers around me, smiled, prayed, and hoped that God was getting down my to-do list because I had quite a few instructions for him.
The short of it was...we lived. And the highlight of my Crash Landing Experience (other than the safe landing) was when the nice couple next to me leaned across the aisle and asked, "Are you saved, honey?"
Yes. Yes, I am. But it was nice they asked.
The thing is, having a Crash Landing experience makes a person think about their life. Regrets? Maybe a few. Mostly that I couldn't use my phone. But also a strange anticipation that if we did end up in a horrible fire on the tarmac, I knew my final destination.
Not LAX. Not Atlanta. Eternity. Heaven. Hanging with my grandparents.
There is peace in that.
I don't know where you might be today, but I might lean over and ask you the same thing, Are you saved? Are you ready to take the Crash Position?
This is why I write - not just to entertain, but to get at the heart of the matter. Salvation. Sanctification. Eternity. I hope to nudge someone with the truth in my novels in a way that helps people think about their relationship with the Almighty in a way that changes their life.
So that when you lose an engine, you're not lost.
Happy Travels, my friends!