Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Believe I Can Fly!!


Do not be afraid any longer, only believe. Mark 5:36

Grounded . . . . I don't know exactly when it happened . . . . I don't recall a single event or major life trauma that triggered the downward spiral.  In all likelihood, my personal free-fall  from wide-eyed wonder and wild abandon  to squinty-eyed suspicion and paralyzing fear went completely unnoticed by the casual observer.  I only know that once upon a time I believed I could fly . . . . and I did fly. 

I was born for adventure . . . . and born TO an adventurer.  My dad was a visionary, a man who was always looking upward and away toward a distant horizon . . . . forever pondering the next unconquered frontier.  When Bill Latham caught a glimpse of something in his sites, it was like an itch that had to be scratched.  You could bet that something exciting was about to happen.   He was my hero . . . . and it was he who taught me to fly.

One of my earliest memories as a youngster revolves around the thrilling, death-defying (well, to a three-year-old anyway) feat which  routinely took place in our kitchen.  My daddy would place me up on top of the refrigerator, step back a couple of feet, hold both hands out in front of him, and shout, "Jump!"  At his command, I would sail off into thin air with complete fearlessness, assured that I would always land in his reliable embrace.  He would beam proudly, I would squeal with delight and immediately demand, "Do it again, Daddy!" 

Trust came so easily then . . . . I knew nothing of falling . . . . My reality was shaped by the confidence in his voice, the safety of his arms, and the joy that we shared together in those moments.

My father was always interested in flying, and I was his flying buddy.  Years  later he did obtain his pilot's license and even had his own airplane, but some of his early flight experiences were with his friend, Burl Poole, who flew a small, open-cockpit "cropduster".  I would tug at my daddy's pants leg and beg him to take me to fly with "Air" Poole, as I had dubbed him.  I still remember the feeling of exhilaration as we lifted off the ground and took to the sky, my long brown hair blowing wildly about in the wind!  Daddy would hold my small frame tightly to keep me confined to that space, but my little spirit would soar so high that nothing could contain it. 

Years passed by, life got busy, I became too big for the refrigerator trick, and I 'm not sure what happened to the crop-duster adventures.  Gradually, along with the passing of time, came the entrance of other voices into my life, with messages far different from the one I had come to trust.  These voices must have been either very loud, very convincing, or very consistant, because they soon drowned out the familiar one which had always made me believe that I could do anything.  Oh, my daddy was still there, encouraging and building me up, but inside I began to doubt him and believe my accusers.  There did, after all, seem to be growing evidence to back up their claims of my failures.

As fears and insecurities mounted, my spirit sank lower and lower.  Soon I was so defined by these internal struggles that I shrank back from trying new things.  One of the many anxieties that emerged during that time, of all things, was a crippling fear of heights! My feet were now bound by invisible chains which kept me tethered to the lower regions of existence.  I no longer gazed upward . . . . and heaven forbid that I should ever be required to look down from even a modest elevation! 

But . . . .  deep within the core of my being, there beat the heart of an eagle.  You see, God had placed it there at my creation, and it had always recognized that my destiny was to soar the heights of the heavens.  So . . . . at night, while my tormented mind rested from its troubling thoughts . . . . my spirit would rise above it all and reignite my passion.

. . . . The dream was always the same, and it was repeated again and again during those earthbound years . . . . I would see myself standing perfectly still on the edge of a scenic, green hillside with arms outstretched, and my face pointed toward the sky.  I wouldn't do anything else . . . . I'd just wait . . . . but at some point in the waiting, a breeze would begin to stir and increase, and it would invariably lift me above the ground.  To my great delight, I would begin to glide effortlessly around the sky above the hillside.  The sensation was like no other, and I would always awaken from the dream, deeply satisfied and longing for the freedom I had just experienced. 

I won't go into a detailed account here of my liberation from all that held me down.  I will just tell you that Deep does call out unto deep (Psalm 42:7), and Perfect Love does indeed cast out fear. (1 John 4:18)  Poppa God has been faithfully cutting away all that has weighed me down, removing all that has hindered my ability to ascend to the heights for which I was created.  He is faithful, and I am His child.  I am confident that He who began this good work in me will see it through to completion.  (Phil. 1:6)

The process was there all along in the recurring dream . . . . the waiting . . . . the face turned toward Him . . . . the wind of His Spirit sent to lift me up . . . . and the ultimate freedom from the downward pull of this world.

Dreams really do come true, you know.  I need only to believe . . . . I need only to respond with childlike faith to His voice each time He says, "Jump!"  His everlasting arms have never once failed to receive me, and so I sail off  again and again into His embrace . . . . and the joy that we share in those moments is unspeakable and full of glory. 

As always, the cry of my heart is . . . . "Do it again, Poppa!"  

And . . . . once again, my spirit takes flight . . . .

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I'm leaning on the Everlasting Arms

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open Door
I believe I can fly

(Excerpt from lyrics to I Believe I Can Fly, written by R Kelly)