An experienced and now retired pilot and flight instructor learned valuable lessons about life while flying airplanes around the world. He learned that even though pilots control massive, powerful flying machines, there are some things they cannot control: they can’t change the direction of the wind, stop the rain or the snow, or smooth out the turbulence jolting the airplane.
And so when teaching new pilots how to land a plane in adverse conditions, he wisely told them, “Don’t fight the controls. . . . Stay cool; don’t overreact. Keep your eyes focused on the centerline of the runway. If you deviate from your desired approach path, make prompt but measured corrections. Trust the potential of your airplane. Ride the turbulence out.”1
That’s good advice for pilots and good advice for those of us on the ground as well, because turbulence doesn’t happen only to airplanes; it also happens in our lives. Problems inevitably blow our way; sometimes things simply don’t go as planned. We may feel shaken and blown about by storms of sorrow, stress, or sadness. So many of these storms are beyond our control.
But there are things we can control. At the very least, we can choose not to become preoccupied with our trials and troubles and instead keep our eyes on the center of the runway, the path that leads to our ultimate destination—our faith and hope, our loving relationships, the things that transcend time.
If the wind has blown us off course, it’s not too late to make corrections. Sometimes what’s needed is grit and perseverance; other times it’s patience and perspective. Sometimes it might require extra concern for a loved one or maybe even the peace that comes of humble acceptance. Sometimes we just have to ride out the storm, hope and wait for better days, and do our best to weather whatever comes our way.
Because that’s the thing to remember about storms—they pass. In the meantime, we can hold fast to those everlasting things. And then, when the wind that blew the clouds in blows them away again, we will find that faith, truth, and love have remained forever unshaken.
-Lloyd D. Newell, Music and the Spoken Word
1. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Landing Safely in Turbulence,” Ensign, Feb. 2016, 4.