ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Life Lessons: What I Learned from a P-51 Mustang Pilot

Updated on February 7, 2018
SimpleGiftsofLove profile image

Linda is a Chaplain and counselor for Crisis Teams and Corrections in Colorado. Her varied life experiences reflect wisdom in her writing..

Are You Ready for Takeoff?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Perfect Landing P51On the Ground P51Living the Dream!
Perfect Landing P51
Perfect Landing P51 | Source
On the Ground P51
On the Ground P51 | Source
Living the Dream!
Living the Dream! | Source

Gratitude produces Optimism

My friend Claude flew in from Alabama for a surprise visit several months ago in his fully restored P51 Mustang. It was quite the event at our local airport, since these planes are so rare, but well-known for the part they played in the wars. P51 Mustangs are and exciting to fly, and those who are fortunate enough to have that experience, usually don't get to be so up close and personal. Climbing into the plane and just sitting and imagining where that plane has been and what battles it had seen, was a wonderful privilege.

For me it is so important to seize those opportunities, and learn something new along the way about a time and culture that is so far removed from my personal history. I have always had the highest regard for those who served in the military, like my uncles Norman and Russ, who landed on the beaches in Normandy.

Claude is a different kind of hero to me, a survivor who was injured in a terrible blast, had his body put together after suffering severe burns and limb repairs, and has an amazing faith in God. I find him inspiring, and his attitude soars in the spiritual arena, sometimes higher than his P-51 Mustang. He has a gift of encouraging others in spite of what he has been through, and quite frankly, I want to live like that.

After winding my way down several dirt roads to our local small airport, I finally arrived where he was meeting us. We offered our hangar as a temporary home during his visit, and wanted to be there early to see him land. We weren't exactly sure when he would be arriving, but were more than willing to wait patiently for his safety.

While we were waiting with his flying buddies, my inexperienced student pilot husband made a comment that the plane should be arriving any minute since the weather was, as he put it, "dead calm". Quickly, one of retired Air Force pilots corrected him as the others chimed in, "Never say dead calm, buddy, in our vernacular, it's perfectly calm". After some thought I figured the one thing pilots were superstitious about was phrasing their vocabulary positively, since dying while flying is always a risk. We can all be schooled by the professionals, and I never heard him say that phrase again. This phrase is now permanently etched in my brain as "what not to say when you are around pilots". You see, I can learn something new every day without trying!

Shortly after the comment, I could hear the P51 engine overhead and was the first to spot the plane approaching the airport. I love that sound! Claude taxied in carefully on the narrow runway and as I captured him on camera, I saw his usual huge grin. When he suddenly saw the taxiway was even more narrow, the smile got even bigger. It was a little tricky to maneuver to the hangar, but as always, he made the best of it and parked perfectly outside so the guys could mill around and enjoy the moment. He immediately lifted me up to the wing to climb inside the cockpit. I took my time in there, relishing the moment.

He insisted I get in to see how it felt, and then offered my husband a ride, the thrill of a lifetime. He commented that his seat was a parachute, not really comfortable, but in war times, necessary. I imagined that as they climbed higher they didn't concern themselves with what any one on the ground was doing. It was a slice of heaven, two friends having a few moments of pilot-bonding coupled with sheer adrenaline rush.

The experience was a spiritual reminder to me that every day I need to make room for interruptions that turn into special times and reorder my priorities to what is important: living life on the highest "plane".

I also found that waiting for the arrival created a greater desire to fly myself, to overcome my fears, and to challenge myself to be really grateful for the special moments in life. Each day holds new experiences, for which we can be grateful.

Just like Claude, sometimes hardship that we overcome helps us appreciate life in a whole new way. Claude once shared his story at great length with me, including his battle to survive, after losing everything.

We can also free ourselves to imagine, anticipate, enjoy, and experience every season we have! Life is not static, soas we adjust our attitude, I believe we increase our altitude in life.

Here are a few practical suggestions to achieving great joy:

1) Make a list first thing in the morning of everything you are grateful for, while you are sipping your first morning coffee. Pause and think about those things before you jump into your day. Verbalize those things to the God who created you and then share them with others so you remember how far He has brought you in life.

2) Think about what you would change about yourself or your life if you could, and then take a step in that direction no matter how uncomfortable you might feel. Forward progress builds momentum, and achievements coupled with obstacles overcome will become both memorials and stepping stones to greater growth and disovery.

3) Before you go to bed at night, work on your "To Do" list for the next day, and right down at least 5 things you want to accomplished so they are off your mind so you can rest. While you sleep, your mind will process those things with no effort. I have noticed that often, the things that I was worrying about actually are accomplished supernaturally by God's grace.

4) Notice during the next day, the many ways life begins ordering itself around the things that really matter, and your thoughts will be drawn to what is right and good in your world. You will have time to encourage and applaud achievements and success of others because you are less consumed with yourself.

5) Go back to #1 and follow through the list anytime, you feel negative or pessimistic. Hopefully, you will have more to think about that you are grateful for. Your life will also begin to take on an optimistic "flight pattern" making you a joy to be around, just like Claude.

Once you begin do this regularly, it will start becoming a habit and you will find your life mostly in balance, and the "To Do" list accomplished quickly with very little effort on your part.

Then you, too, will be less apt to worry about things on the ground and instead let your heart be set on things above like the pilot of a P51.

Now get busy and enjoy life, really live in the moment, and from time to time you too, may experience perfect calm while you soar to new heights!

Take a Moment for Inspiration

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile imageAUTHOR

      SimpleGiftsofLove 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks Billd016037, it was quite the day! Thanks for taking time to comment!

    • billd01603 profile image

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Great Hub. I agree a sound of a P 51 is like no other. It's beautiful.And thans for the life advice!

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile imageAUTHOR

      SimpleGiftsofLove 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks karwoo and Enlydia, gratitude is a gift..and so are your encouraging comments.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      7 years ago from trailer in the country

      great advice.

    • karwoo profile image

      karwoo 

      7 years ago from Lake Stevens

      Thank you I have been struggling with my life and it is full of clutter. I see my house starting to get cluttered as well. I think hand in hand they are so I will try this advice. Thank you again

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)