I read an article by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf today that really spoke to me. He is one of the most inspiring people I have ever heard speak. He is also a pilot, which is why he is in this awesome picture with Han Solo... um, Harrison Ford, and the Berlin Candy Bomber, and why he frequently uses aeronautical metaphors when he speaks and writes.
This particular article is about landing safely in turbulence. President Uchtdorf states that when a pilot experiences turbulence and needs to land his aircraft, he or she doesn't focus on the gusts of wind and air pockets that are causing the turbulence. Instead, the pilot should focus on the runway, where they hope to land. He describes the way the pilot can't possibly control the wind or the dangerous situations outside the plane, but he or she can control the way they handle the airplane, and they shouldn't fear just because the flight isn't always smooth. He then applies it to mortal trials:
This was such a perfect reality check for me. I have been so overwhelmed -- and frequently, overwrought -- by the difficulties I have been facing. I know that I am so blessed and have so much to be grateful for, but the stresses of day to day life often overwhelm me in this trying period of trying to stay afloat with a husband in graduate school, working night shift, and managing two adorable but uncontrollable little boys -- all without ever getting a full night's sleep. I find myself looking at all the things that are difficult and questioning my ability to ever get through it in one piece. I catalogue my failures and shortcomings and completely lose faith that I can navigate through the fog.
Obviously, I haven't been focused on the Savior and His ability to redeem me from my sins and shortcomings, as well as His strength to bear me through the problems I have that are beyond my control. I have felt like I am drowning, and I have felt like there is no escape, and this is possibly true. I am flying the aircraft that I have -- in this mortal life there are things that will never be perfect. My "aircraft" has a mental illness to overcome, and needs a certain (as of right now, unattainable) amount of sleep to function at its best, and only has so many hours in a day. Things are not going to be perfect. But if I focus on where I am going and who is leading me instead of how my "airplane" isn't in optimal condition, the flight will be smoother. President Uchtdorf says at one point, "Trust the potential of your airplane. Ride the turbulence out."
So today, I am looking forward, focusing on the Savior instead of the madness around me. I'm sure I'll continue to need reminders every day, but hopefully as I practice I will steer a straighter course.