Love at 30,000 Feet
By Jeff Friend
All the passengers were settling into their seats when there seemed to be a small commotion at the plane’s entrance. A middle-aged man carrying his severely disabled teenage son struggled to negotiate the tight turn behind the cockpit as they headed for their seats in the first row.
The boy’s mother tried to protect his head from injury as the father awkwardly placed his son into the window seat. The boy had little control of his body, and his father labored to try to get him situated comfortably. Seemingly with each movement the boy would utter a small groan or cry of pain, and each sound seemed to make the man work even faster to find the right position to ease the moaning. But since his ultimate goal was his son’s comfort, the man continued to make adjustments until he was satisfied there were no more moves he could make.
The father was totally oblivious to anyone around him. As his wife tried to help from her seat in the second row, the father asked for pillows and blankets to prop his son so there would be minimal movement during the flight. With his son momentarily quiet, he wiped his own forehead, took a couple deep breaths, and sat down as he thanked the flight crew for their patience and assistance.
But as soon as his seat belt clicked securely, he twisted in his seat and returned his attention to his son. He poked the pillows, fluffed the blankets, and very gently massaged the boy’s arms and then legs. The constant moaning prompted ongoing responses from the man as he continued to find the perfect position that would ease the boy’s discomfort.
Shortly after takeoff, the son became quiet and briefly surrendered to sleep. But as soon as the seat belt light went off, the father was quickly on his feet and facing the boy, checking all around him and adding more blankets under his feet for additional padding.
Back in his own seat, he turned himself sideways so he could stay focused on his son. In Psalm 17:8, David understands being the object of such lavish Fatherly love:
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
Some slight turbulence aroused the boy, and he again began the painful cries. His father tenderly laid his hand on the boy’s face and slightly moved his mouth so it was almost touching his son’s ear. With his free hand he lightly stroked the boy’s hair as he whispered, “Daddy’s right here. I love you. Don’t be afraid. I love you.” For the next several moments, he continually reassured his son and told him how much he loved him.
Finally the boy dozed off again, yet the father kept whispering to him, with a quick pillow fluff here or a little straightening there. Even if the boy couldn’t hear him, the words of love kept flowing from his father, just as in Zephaniah 3:17:
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
As I sat across the aisle, I tried not to stare, but my eyes had hardly left the scene since they boarded the plane. I began to realize I was watching this man care for his son and lavish love on him just as my Heavenly father does for me. Even when I’m not aware, my Father ceaselessly reassures me of His love, comforts me, wipes my tears, and keeps me the center of His attention, all the while gently whispering, “Daddy’s right here. I love you”. Be assured that your Father is watching over you today and He is constantly lavishing His love on you, even when you are unaware.
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Jeff Friend is a freelance writer who has had hundreds of articles published in periodicals, books, newspapers and online. He has received the Evangelical Press Association's Higher Goals in Christian Journalism Award and is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). He can be contacted at [email protected].
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