Posted by: Donna Douglass | Friday March 19, 2010

white on white

“I guess that’s pretty advanced stuff,” Slick concluded after debriefing me on all he had flown during the past week. He had balanced the trusty turbo Cessna 206 on an 18-foot-wide runway despite a sudden cross wind that shoved him sideways just before he touched down. High, narrowing canyons broke off into jagged mountain passes through which he’d escape into the adjacent valley. Desert and mountain terrain challenged him to reason through real roads that weren’t on the map and mapped roads that weren’t on the earth. At the last moment, one steep, barren valley yielded an unmapped airstrip as he glided downhill sans engine (simulated). The runways of Boise International emerged somewhat near the aircraft’s nose at the end of an instrument approach where all the guidance gauges read backwards (“back course localizer”). Narrow white airstrips blending, like ghosts into the fog, into snow-blanketed fields reluctantly showed their outlines to his searching gaze. If there were an advanced degree in general aviation, I’m sure he’d qualify!

With his flight training complete, a giant step along the road to Africa is behind us. And another gut check is in progress. God is gentle, however. Now that Slick’s training is done, He is allowing us a month in our favorite state, Colorado, where the vastness invites the heart to open, to bear itself before its Maker. Here, in view of jagged, snowy ridges stretching for hundreds of miles, here I know that God is God: unsearchable, unknowable and vast beyond words. Yet He comforts the heart of one tiny pilgrim as it faints before the road He’s laid before her. Here I know that God is God, and God is good. Therefore, all is well.

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