I was recently traveling on an airplane with my good friend, Maimah Karmo.
Shortly into the flight, we hit some turbulence and I could feel Maimah’s anxiety. I asked her if she was OK and she said she said she would be fine, but I could still feel her nervousness.
Suddenly, I felt an urge to ask her a question and then tell her a story. What follows is a shortened version of the story I told her:
“Maimah, do you know why airplanes exists? Not how they are made or how they fly, but actually WHY airplanes exist?”
Maimah looked at me with that playfully condescending look she gives me when she sees the expression on my face that lets her know a story is coming her way. “No, Bruce. Please tell me…” she said.
“Well… the very simple answer is this: airplanes exist because God loves airplanes!
God is everywhere and in everything, so God is the very air through which we are flying.
God loves how it feels to be the air that flows over, under, and around this airplane, keeping us in flight.
God loves how it feels when the wings slice through the air and bank through the clouds, and how the jets pull the air into the turbines and thrust it out of the engines.
God loves airplanes because God loves to take the shape and structure of the plane. It loves how it feels to be this magnificently complex machine that can fly so high above the earth.
God loves how it feels to be the powerful engines that can speed this plane into flight, and to feel the strength of its wings supporting the cabin and carrying all the fuel for the engines and generating all the electricity for lights and controls of the aircraft.
God loves to soar through the air and slice through the clouds and to come back down and land on a runway.
God loves to be the pilots who get to sit at the controls of this amazing machine and to feel what a human feels while being the pilot–the exhilaration of takeoff and landings, understanding all that is necessary to be in full control of an airplane.
God loves assembling people of all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, and backgrounds, loading them onto the plane and taking them to a specific destination for a myriad of reasons. Some are on this flight for happy reasons, some for sad reasons, some for pleasure, some for business, but all because God wanted us all on this flight for a reason.
God loves to create very complex plays and to put on all the costumes and to, simultaneously, play all the parts of everyone on this plane, including you and me.
And that, Maimah, is why airplanes exist. God loves airplanes!”
Maimah just sat for a few seconds to soak it all in. Then she said “I love you, Bruce. I love how you let God speak through you and how you light up with excitement when you tell stories like that. I feel much better. Thank you!”
I told a more detailed version of the story on my Life Is A Marathon podcast, if you’d like to hear it.