The Wind Beneath My Wing

Thoughts of An Aviator

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Are You Listening?

July 3rd, 2008 · 2 Comments

Heading West

I can remember when I got my first flying job many years ago.  It was flying a DC-3.  There are some things that you always remember.   Where you were when Kennedy was shot, when your first child was born.  For me it was this day, flying an old DC-3. 

I will always remember taking off out of Huntsville, Texas.  The giant old Pratt and Whitney engines roaring to life as the airplane slipped out of the earth’s gravity and lumbered into the sky.  I still remember the old, gray-haired pilot I was sitting next to when he said something was wrong with the left engine.   We were four thousand feet at the time.  A very low altitude compared to the altitudes I fly today. 

We were between Huntsville and Dallas flying along at a mere one hundred and sixty knots.  At first I was not really concerned until I asked the old captain if we were going to be “ok.”   He turned and said, ” I hope so” as he pointed out the ever-increasing temperature on the left engine.  The captain reiterated there was something wrong with the left engine, but beyond the increased temperature on the cylinder head temperature gauge I could not tell.  He then said, “Can you hear that noise?”  I could not.  I listened ever so intently and yet could not hear what he was hearing.  He would say, “Don’t you hear that?” and I could not hear anything except the roar of some twenty-seven hundred horses thundering outside my window. 

I sat with my adrenaline running, watching and listening for what the old man was hearing.  Suddenly he slid open the large left side window.  The wind noise was deafening and dust was a swirl in the cockpit.  He said, “Can’t you hear that?”  Then suddenly, even with all the noise of the rushing wind and that giant engine outside the open window along with the three silver propellers cutting the wind, I could hear it.  It was just a soft whisper, but unbelievably I could hear it.  It was a “chew, chew, chew” sound.  The sound of a hole in the top of the cylinder on the left engine, usually known as the number one engine.  There was raw fire coming out of the hole licking the cowling that surrounds and protects the engine. We had an emergency and we had to shut the engine down.  We continued on to Dallas where fortunately we landed safely.

There is a story in God’s Word about the prophet Elijah and how he was seeking God upon Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God. In 1 Kings 19:11 & 12 the Lord said, ” Go and  stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, …….but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake……….but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire ………….but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came …………a gentle whisper.

Today when you go to God’s quiet place,  the place where you meet God and talk to Him, what do you hear?  Do you come before Him with fear and trembling?  Do you listen so intently that you can hear the …still… small …voice of God and know that it is Him?  Is the noise of the world so loud that you just cannot seem to hear?  Are you saying to God…..I just can’t hear?   Is He whispering back to you……..listen my child…… listen?  The next time you cannot hear the whisper of God’s voice……….maybe you need to just……….open the window.        





(C) 2008

Tags: Thoughts

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bruce McCombs // Jul 8, 2008 at 8:04 am

    As I have said many times, I think you have a gift of communication using your aviation experience to illustrate God’s infinite love and grace.

  • 2 Stuart MGeady // Aug 4, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Wise words and a good story!

    I was privileged to be singing with the Annapolis Chorale when we presented Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which contains a major reference to 1 Kings 19:11 & 12 expressed by the orchestra, choir and solo voices. Of course, you can hear the tympani poundng the sounds of thunder and lightning, and the strings swirling and rushing like the wind, but the best part is the small child’s voice quietly singing that he hears God’s voice in the silence after the storm.

    Perhaps as adults with ears hard of hearing and minds sometimes too stubborn to listen, we should remember the child telling Elijah what he heard.