It's funny how the same sight and sound can evoke such starkly different emotions. In war-torn countries, the roar of a fighter jet fills people with terror and they instinctively want to run for cover. Conversely, there's hardly a sound in the world that makes my heart swell with pride and comforts me like the familiar roar of a fighter jet.
My dad was a fighter pilot and for a few fortunate years we lived close enough to his base that he could surprise us with personal fly overs. We’d hear the roar of his jet and excitedly run out to watch him. He’d fly upside down close enough for us to see his face, he’d twirl straight up into the sky, then come flying straight down, before finally arcing up and away and back to the base. With all those awe inspiring maneuvers it’s no surprise that the sight and sound of a fighter jet fills me with such nostalgia for my dad and an astonishing burst of love for my country.
Our little boy Brett is severely physically and mentally impaired. He is blind and will never walk or talk. He is completely dependent on us.
He was almost four years old the last time I attempted to travel with him. All was good until about a half hour into the flight when he developed a hideous case of diarrhea. It oozed out of his diaper, getting all over us, on his clothes and on my clothes. I struggled to get him into the lavatory to try and clean us up, but even if he’d been able to stand on his own, I wouldn't have been able to do much. We reeked. I felt horrible for the passengers seated around us.
I thought it’d be a lovely time to experience a slow decompression. The masks would drop, people could put them around their nose and mouth, breathe normally, know that they are getting oxygen even if the bag does not inflate and best of all…get relief from the pungent stench emanating from us.
Not knowing what else to do, I held Brett with his poor tummy ache and stared out the window. Telling myself this would surely go down as one of the worst days of my life, I suddenly spotted a fighter jet right below us. It was so close! I watched it until it arced gracefully up, out and away. I thought of my dad and even whispered, "Dad?"
Just thinking about how sorry my dad would feel for me opened up the flood gates and tears of self pity streamed down my face. My dad died before he knew anything about Brett. I don't really think my dad can see me—isn’t he now exempt from pain and sorrow? And wouldn't it make him sad to see me? Sad to see his little grandson?
Still, the glimpse of that fighter jet flitting through the sky comforted me, made me think that whether my earthly father can see me or not, my Heavenly Father does see me, and He won't let anything overwhelm me. I am in His tender care—always and forever. The pure conviction of God's personal love for me at that moment gave me a rush of joy that's difficult to describe. Sadly, I don't often feel that depth of joy. But the joy was real and it was enough to assure me I wasn't alone.
There is no doubt in my mind that God placed that fighter jet in our air space that day. A tangent reminder that He is with me, He loves me and is plenty capable of providing miraculous signs to spur me on in times of despair.