Landing Lights

As a flight nurse, there were many times when we would return to base flying IFR in lousy weather after a long, weary call. Especially at night, when visibility was reduced anyway, it was a little lip-biting to see nothing but cloud outside the helicopter’s windows and just trust that the pilot had his eyes on the instruments.

The moment always came when we broke through under the clouds and saw the airport landing lights blaze up like a star-strewn path, welcoming us home. I loved that part of the flight. We were usually exhausted, sweaty, dirty, and sometimes stained with someone’s blood…and we were home.

All of us will die, unless Jesus returns during our lifetime. I have always known this, of course. I’ve stood by the bedsides of dying friends, performed desperate CPR on strangers with the awareness that they were certainly dying, and arrived on the scenes of accidents where my only nursing care was to pronounce the patient dead. Years ago, I held a friend’s terminally ill baby when she took her last tiny sigh. But death never spoke this way to me. Up until now, death has been something that happened to somebody else.

Will I die as a result of this malignant tic-tac in my breast? Probably not. The statistics are enormously in my favor. Intense research has marched the treatment of breast cancer remarkably forward. Still…women die of this disease.

I don’t want to die of breast cancer, just like I don’t want to crash my bicycle and die of trauma. I don’t want to have a fatal heart attack, get eaten by a shark, or tumble through an airplane’s toilet and fall to my death. But all of us will die. This experience with breast cancer has made me think about death on a more personal level.

Jesus, lead me home. Not today, not tomorrow, and not in the next few years, hopefully. Not until I am “old and full of days.” But someday I want to break through these clouds and see the landing lights, with the knowledge that you’re standing at the end of the runway with your arms open wide.

“He will light the way,
He will lead us home,
As we offer all,
To the one who saved us.”
The One Who Saves  Hillsong

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