She had only flown three times on her own when the wheels fell off.
I saw the story on the news the other day and couldn’t believe it. A young pilot had just taken off when the wheel fell off the front of her plane. Air Control radioed her with the news. Another pilot nearby, a veteran, also saw it happen. He radioed in, “The entire wheel casing fell to the ground and bounced along the runway!”
The pilot was only 17-years-old and would now have to land the plane without the front wheel. Air control patched the older veteran pilot through to her. His strong voice came over the radio. He asked her for her name.
His breath caught. His daughter’s name was Taylor too.
“Taylor, I’m going to help you land this plane, okay? You can do this, kiddo.” He stayed on air with her as she circled for several minutes to calm her nerves. The voice of the veteran pilot in her ear, she took a deep breath and began the landing process. His calm tone gave her courage. “It’s okay, kiddo. It’s okay. You’ve got this.”
Taylor approached the runway, listened to the instructions and did all she knew to do. The plane landed and bounced along before coming to a stop, its nose dropping to the ground,
The tears flowed, for Taylor and the veteran.
She had landed. She was safe.
Several days later, the veteran pilot met Taylor face to face.
“Nice to see you, kiddo,” he said he wrapped her in a warm hug. “You did well.”
When I watched the story, tears came to my eyes. My mind immediately went to those who were that voice for me. The ones who stepped in when the wheels fell off of my life. They helped me circle through the panic and then talked me down to a place of safety. Now that I’m older, I’ve done that a time or two for others in the midst of a crisis, talking a friend or a child down from the stress and fear.
It’s something we can all do – as we’ve all walked through a thing or two and can share hope with another who is a few steps behind.
But then my mind went to OUR veteran pilot. Jesus. We can lean into his calming voice in the midst of a storm, reminding us gently that we’ve got this, that he’s not going anywhere, that he will see us through this mishap and every other storm along the way. He speaks just the life we need, the instructions we long for. “You’ve got this kiddo,” He says, warmly, gently.
And one day we will get to see our veteran Pilot face to face. He will wrap us in a warm embrace and hold us close in his strong arms. He will speak life over us, and joy. “Nice to see you, kiddo,” He’ll say. “You did well.”
And the tears will flow.