After several years of flying in and out of Bend in airplanes scarcely more substantial than soda cans, I’ve toughened up a bit in terms of how much bump & free fall I can handle.
Flying out of Redding this afternoon, however, I cried like a baby, seriously believing I might die. We took off through a crazy windstorm, and our winky little plane was sliding left and right like a toy between cosmic cat paws.
I did the only thing I know how to do when fearing for my life: I started chanting. Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, I don’t want to die, I’m not ready to die yet! Allah, Allah, Allah, Ya Rahman, please save me!
As fate would have it, I was sitting right across the aisle from a soldier making his way to Kandahar. A little ironic voice in the back of my mind wondered what he thought of my chanting. The soldier and the Sufi, an awkward pairing, but when you believe you’re in mortal danger there’s really nothing else to do but to call on God in whatever way feels most authentic to you.
Before taking off, I’d said the Fatiha under my breath for this soldier, soon to be in real mortal danger. It was an honor to be able to pray for him and to witness his sendoff in the airport. Soldier whose name I don’t know, I pray that you stay safe in body, mind & spirit!
Photo credit: Photos By Rivers on Flickr