We were settling into our 5 1/2 hour flight back to Newark. Excited to finally be on our way and airborne, we delved into some of our on-board activities: reading, Angry Birds, stickers, games. At some point fairly early into the flight, the Captain came on the overhead speaker and mentioned that there was some light chop ahead and that he’d be turning on the fasten seatbelt sign. We complied. A few bumps ensued, but nothing big. A little bit later I got up to squeeze my way back to the lavatory as the flight attendant maneuvered the beverage cart through the narrow space. I had been intrigued by the Captain’s earlier words, so I said to her: “That ‘light chop,’ thing the Captain mentioned…it’s interesting…are there different kinds of chop?”
“Light, moderate and severe,” she explained. She went on to tell me how moderate can be quite bumpy, where you feel like you’re dropping, and severe, which doesn’t happen very often. (I imagined something along the lines of the trailers I’d seen for the Denzel Washington movie “Flight.”)
I thanked her and sat back down. I was fascinated by what she’d told me. You see, to my dad’s dismay (and embarrassment, I’m sure), the Hagenbuch sisters have never been big fans of flying. We’ve just never really cared for the experience of being up in a big tube in the sky. But here’s the thing: I liked being told by the Captain that light chop was coming up. Knowing that he was aware of it, and the fact that he shared it with us, seemed to help my discomfort. I appreciated the heads up. He knew it was coming, alerted us, and in turn, illuminated the fasten seatbelt sign for our safety.
It’s nice to know what’s coming. It’s nice to feel prepared. It’s nice to know the Captain has a handle on things.
I know that I continue to be a work in progress in the chop department of life. I’d like to get better at handling the unexpected chop—those unforeseen, unpredictable things that come my way.
So that when I do encounter life’s turbulence—predictable or otherwise—I’ll just buckle up, ride it out, and trust that God has a handle on all of it: light, moderate and severe.