A Life Lesson from Flying: His master's voice

As a pilot I have learned to be a multi-tasker. I often liken it to managing a bunch of spinning plates on a stick. While flying an aircraft, at any given time I have to manage about 5-8 different tasks simultaneously in order to control the airplane:  Maintain my heading within a few degrees, keep the altitude trimmed, monitor engine gauges, stay clear of the various types of restricted airspaces, stay clear of the clouds, navigate, know my location at any given time.  I've also got to be able to tune and monitor the navigation instruments and tune the radios properly.  Beyond that, a pilot is in a noisy, vibrating environment where a high level of concentration is required at all times.  Mental lapses even for a few seconds can be disastrous. And flight for an extended period of time, whilst sitting in the same position can be physically exhausting.

Throughout all of this, there is constant radio chatter between various pilots and air traffic control.  Sometimes while talking to Orlando Approach Control there are so many voices on the radio that it is difficult to carry on a conversation in the plane. All of the constant radio chatter is another distraction to all the other tasks that a pilot manages. 

What's more important, when the controller calls you, you must answer back.  Not just quickly and clearly, but correctly.  You have to recognize that they're calling you, understand what they are asking you to do, call back and acknowledge that you will comply with the instruction, and then execute the instruction properly.  For a novice in a tough area to fly like the airspace around Orlando, it's a tough task not unlike learning to speak a foreign language with all the nuances associated with it.

As a pilot, it took me a while to learn how to fly in the fast paced environment of air traffic control.  But then I learned something, and it all came down to listening for and recognizing the controller's voice when he calls out my name.  I found that if I listen closely, I can always hear the sound of his voice calling my name.  No matter what I'm doing... even if I am in the middle of a sentence with a passenger in my airplane, I can always hear the sound of the controller when he calls my name. I have learned to recognize it from all the other distractions, and because of that ability, I have become a good pilot.

The thought occurred to me that being a pilot is a whole lot like life.  At any given time there are lots of distractions:  Work, money, love life (or lack thereof?), car trouble, sports, mowing the lawn, paying bills, shopping, entertainment, friends.  There are so many things that can distract us in life, that keep us away from the things that are really important.

But I have also learned that if you listen closely, you can always hear the voice of your Father in heaven, speaking in a voice just softer than a whisper.  I believe He calls our names at just the right time.  He is always there, whispering, guiding us.  He is always there at the right time and is never far away in times of trouble.  But the true key is learning to recognize the sound of His voice when he calls out your name.  Have you heard him calling? Learn to listen for Him.

As we aviate these skies of life, there is no easy road. But it is nice to know that through it all there is an invisible voice, our Father in heaven, standing with us throughout it all.

Those are my thoughts. Thanks for listening.

Nate Naversen

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