Cheryl and I were recently on an airplane flight for 2 1/2 hours. It wasn’t the longest flight we’ve been on by far, but it seemed longer than it was. We managed to get the last seat in the back corner of the plane. There was no window. No reclining to the seat and limited leg room. I realize that’s typical these days for most seats, but trust me when I say this was the worst seat I’ve ever had on an airplane and I’ve flown a bunch.
To make matters worse…The guy in front of me reclined his full 3 inches and wouldn’t sit still the entire flight.
I knew I was semi claustrophobic, but on this flight I thought I would die. I allowed myself to be psyched into a frizzy of miserableness. Cheryl tried to calm me, but I was restless.
I know it sounds extreme, and like I am a big baby, but it became that big of a deal for me at the time. I had to do something.
So, how did I survive?
Well, the way I turned an uncomfortable situation into a manageable situation was a lesson for me for other life situations. Real life situations. The kind that last longer than a 2 1/2 hour airplane flight. (Even funnier was that I read a book about a WWII POW survivor on this vacation…talk about surviving…I am a sissy! But, still…)
Here’s what I did:
Thought about destination. We were getting out of town. Somewhere exciting. Vacation. Better times ahead.
Reminded myself this was temporary. These things too shall pass.
Redirected my thoughts to something that I enjoyed thinking about. (Such as writing a blog post.) And planning a new strategy. And studying my Bible.
It made the trip more pleasant and helped me arrive in a better mood. Cheryl was happy about that.
But, as I said, it helped me process how I respond in other claustrophobic times of life.
When you feel stuck. The walls feel like they are closing in around you. You are miserable in your current circumstances.
Here’s what you do:
Destination – Think about where you’re going. Better days ahead. If you’re a believer…a follower of Christ…you are living with some promises. (If you’re not on the right path…redirect here.)
Temporary – Remember life has ups and downs. These days shall pass. And, as Paul said, even if troubles last a lifetime, these “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a glory that far outweighs” anything of this world.
Redirect – Change your thought process. Many times what we think about determines how we feel. Again, Paul said, “whatever is pure, whatever is noble, if anything is excellent or praise worthy…think about such things”. Maybe we need to think better thoughts.
When you have a proper perspective you can sit back, relax and better enjoy the flight.
Just for fun, what’s the most miserable flight you’ve ever been on and what made it so?