Why do Airplanes Fly?

The sight of a crying child or a child who just won’t sit up in peace usually arouse a tinge of irritation in me. But this, I did not feel with Yohan, the kid who was seated in front of me during my recent flight to Cebu.


When the plane was about to take off, he was insisting on standing up near the window (looks like I am not the only one who’s in awe of the view). Even without the airline restricting such interest of a child, his mother knows that Yohan can’t do what he wants. He needs to sit up straight for the moment, put on his seatbelt and wait until the wearing of the seatbelt sign is turned off. And just like every kid who is denied of any request or treat, Yohan cried.

At that moment, I realized that Yohan is like the grown-ups and his mom is like God. Grown-ups tend to like or pursue something they want but can be harmful to them. They have inclination on requesting for something they thought they need but really don’t. Sometimes, when a request goes unanswered, they grow distant from God or feel discouraged. But when the request is granted and it turned out to be a disaster, that’s when they learn that it wasn’t what they needed in the first place.

Yohan’s mom endured his wails during the take-off because she knows better. There are times when God lets the grown-ups fail, be hurt or wait for a long time because He knows best. As that famous SMS/ quote goes, ‘We can only see the few steps ahead but God sees the entire journey.’

When Yohan finally got free from the seatbelt, he went sight-seeing near the window. This was also when the plane encountered a slight turbulence; it kind of jiggled that made my stomach funny. The motion of the plane reminded me of that ride in HK Ocean Park when the rider gets to go up and down in a rapid motion thrice. (I thought it was a wholesome ride since it got ‘train’ in its name.) And so I was kind of expecting the plane to go down too and was afraid it will. I looked at Yohan and he was comfortably seated on his mother’s lap while admiring the sky and anything that he finds amazing in the plane. The scene reminded me of my own peace whenever the assurance of my parents is embracing me (especially when I was a kid).

Yohan knows that whatever happens, for as long as he is with his mother, everything will be all right. I guess it’s the same feeling that most babies feel whenever they are tossed in the air by their parents. Instead of worrying for the possible danger of falling, they are smiling, giggling and always trusting.

I realized that grown-ups sometimes lose that sense of trust, that feeling of being assured that everything will be all right. After all, we are but a speck on the earth. That in the vastness of the universe, there is one Almighty that brings things, circumstances and people into place.

So, why do airplanes fly? One might go as far as saying that it’s because as the curved airfoil wing flies in the sky, it deflects air and alters the air pressure above and below, thus lifting the aircraft. Or we can all believe that there is one huge, gigantic, majestic, ever-knowing God that holds it up in the sky until it lands safely to its destination.

As Flight 5J 565 landed in Mactan Airport and while the passengers were deplaning, I whispered a short prayer for Yohan. When he turns into a grown-up, may he seek the counsel of his parents and the guidance of the Lord in every decision. May he never lose that feeling of assurance from his parents and trust in the Lord.