Catching an Earlier Flight

Elijah the Pilot at night

Fear not. Elijah is not really flying this aircraft. But seeing him in the cockpit reminded me of all the people who were able to travel over the past few weeks of Spring Break. Who doesn’t get excited about escaping the pressures of daily life to enjoy a little rest and relaxation somewhere fun and exotic? We live in Minnesota, so anywhere south of Iowa seems warm and exotic.

Vacations are great when you are the one getting away. I have to admit, sitting on a warm beach always seems more enjoyable when the weather back home shows cold and cloudy. We love to travel to places where we can experience things that we don’t normally have back home. It doesn’t take long to forget about the pressures of life, and we start dreaming of ways to somehow extend our vacation time!

But I will also have to admit to the sins of envy and jealousy when I’m the one sitting at home. Social media allows us to see others enjoying their exotic getaways. We all know the same feeling. We force a smile and express happiness for our friends and family being able to enjoy a fun vacation. But we feel the pain of being left behind.

We have probably all been on both sides of the vacation experience. But I wonder if you have ever experienced having family members leave for your planned vacation ahead of you. One year Melanie drove with the kids and her parents from Minnesota to a beach in Florida. I had to stay home and complete some work obligations, but planned to join them for the second week of vacation. It was one of the longest weeks of my life.

I knew that I was missing out on the sun and the fun. I was missing out on the days of rest and relaxation. But mostly I missed my family. I missed the sound of their giggles and laughter. I missed their voices and I missed their hugs. The sounds of silence going from room to room in our empty house seemed torturous. Even though I knew that in just a few days I would be reunited with them, I suffered the pain of being left behind.

So it is when we lose a loved one. We get a double portion of grieving. In personal terms, I not only miss Elijah and grieve the emptiness of his absence. I also grieve over being left behind. Even so, how delightful to know that we share a common destination. Heaven is where we who are left behind long to be.

Our hope is in knowing that we will soon enough be reunited together in the most exotic of destinations. “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13).

The Bible assures us that those who have died will be the first to rise when Christ returns in glory. “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (v17). The Apostle Paul then says, “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (v18).

I’m comforted in knowing that our reservations are set. Our travel expenses are already paid for. Elijah was just catching an earlier flight.


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

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    • Laura Harris on April 9, 2015 at 10:20 am

    How true and lovely Ken! Thank you for the continuous encouragement and your obedience to God’s call for you!

  1. Thank you, Laura Harris. After all the years of flying standby with your family, you know what it’s like to have a loved one catch a flight ahead of you.

    Your family has been a blessing to many people. Thank you for your encouragement and support!

    • Cleo Foley on April 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Ken you are such a inspiration to anyone reading these posts. My heart is so full of love for all of you!

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