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The Friendly Skies


" Jesus answered, 'The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; [30] and you shall LOVE THE Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. [31] The second is this, 'You shall LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31 NASB 

I usually stay busy doing something-anything, when the flight attendants give the preflight safety speech. To give rapt attention to it would make me appear to be a flying greenhorn who is afraid to fly. Not a reputation I long for among the strangers I'm sitting next to, especially since, I'm not afraid of flying at all. It is the crashing that concerns me, not the flying. Besides, I feel much safer now that the security personnel are taking away everyone's finger nail clippers, don't you?

While I'm not really listening to the attendant, it is impossible not to hear the instructions and notice the safety features of the plane. I'm glad my seat cushion can double as a flotation devise, though I'd prefer it to be made out of Aladdin's magic carpet. If the plane is going down, I'd prefer to be sitting on something that can fly rather than something that can float-especially since I never fly over water. Even though I believe it will be safer to stay in the plane than to jump out, I also take notice of where the safety exits are, just in case.

My favorite part of the demonstration is when the attendant shows us how to buckle a seat belt-a maneuver far more complicated than weaving through airport traffic, parking the car in the right lot, finding the right terminal, making it through security and going to the right gate. I mean, anybody can do those things, fastening a seat belt, now that's complicated.

The part of the speech that makes the most sense to me is the instruction about how to use the oxygen mask. The attendant always says, to make sure our mask is securely fastened before assisting other passengers with theirs. Why? If we don't, we could pass out before we could help those who need our help. The message is clear, before I am able to help others, I've got to take care of myself. But not to the exclusion of helping others. After loving God, Jesus said that loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is the greatest commandment. 

Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.

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