Last week, I gave my friend Jess a fun, new memory when I had to pull out the little white barf bag on our flight to Orlando. I knew it was going to be bad when they warned us prior to boarding the plane that the crew was expecting a lot of turbulence. As the girl who got motion sick sitting in the movie theater watching a volleyball named Wilson, I knew I was in trouble. I took my Zofran (the drug that became my best friend during my second pregnancy.)
They weren’t lying. Turbulence was putting it mildly. I survived the first flight, we made our connection, and we boarded the second flight only to receive a similar message. “Prepare yourselves for turbulence.” I took another Zofran and closed my eyes. While we endured what felt like a mini roller coaster I could feel myself getting sicker and sicker. And then the little white bag had to make an appearance. And sweet Jess calmly went and asked for a ginger ale. I took a few sips and prayed for landing. The guy to my left must have been praying the same thing for as soon as the plane’s wheels touched down he was out of his seat headed towards the exit. Poor man. I fear I might have scarred him for life.
Turbulence. It happens. A friendship hits a bump in the road. We get slighted or left out. A friend overlooks us. Someone else gets the recognition. Unexpected bills throw us for a loop. Expectations aren’t met. Someone betrays us. We get rejected. The answer is no. We look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. Our kid doesn’t make the team. The doctor finds a spot.
Sometimes it feels like a bump in the road. Other times it feels like we bypassed the line and got thrown on Space Mountain. Turbulence looks different for everyone but it still happens to everyone. How do we traverse the bump without becoming derailed?
Laugh. Laughter diffuses a tense situation. Laugh at yourself. Laugh over chips and queso with good friends. Google “What Does the Fox Say?” and laugh at that. But never underestimate the power of laughter.
Give. The moment I hit turbulence, an invitation goes out for a pity party. The focus is all about me, where I’m lacking, what I wish I had, why she left me out. But if I turn it around and make it all about someone else, suddenly my mood starts to lift. Give money, give time, give encouragement, give hugs, give forgiveness. When you hit turbulence, give. I know it doesn’t seem to make sense, but it works.
Keep on flying. Don’t camp out in the rough patch. Bama used to have this running back, and I loved watching him play because his feet never stopped moving. Even when four defenders were pushing him to the ground, his feet kept moving. And when the play seemed dead and the whistle was about to be blown, he would push off the tackles and get to the first down line, sometimes even the goal line. His feet never stopped.
Eventually, I got to Orlando, barf bag and all. Well, I left the barf bag on the plane, but I gave the flight attendant my most apologetic smile. Turbulence will happen. But how we respond is up to us. Laugh and give and keep on flying.