I’ve been thinking a lot lately about changing my career. With the way my 401k is performing, retirement seems to be an extremely elusive goal - at least as far as my bank account is concerned. I need a job that will pay me huge amounts of money, crazy money, and I need to start looking now. If not, I will have to continue my working career well into my 80s or possibly even my 90s. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Airline pilot. That’s the ticket. I’m sure they probably make well over 200k a year if they are connected with a major airline. Sure, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and I know nothing at all about flying a jumbo jet, but I can’t let a few tiny little details stop me. True, I’ve never had training as a pilot, but I do recall one time where a friend of mine let me take the controls of a Piper Seneca II while we were airborne en route to Sylacauga a few years back. So I’ve actually (kinda) flown a plane - for a few short seconds, anyway.
I’ve read biographical sketches on some very fine pilots, too. My favorites were Eddie Rickenbacker and John Glenn. I can share many details about their flying exploits as well as their personal lives – they were both exceptional pilots. Eddie cut his teeth during the bi-plane era, while John used his fighter jet experience to propel himself into the space program during its infancy back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. A few good men, they were, with the right stuff. And they were both aviation pioneers in their own right.
Now that I’ve mentioned it, I have also become acquainted with quite a few aeronautical terms in my reading. I know words like yaw and pitch, turbulence, and the deck. With a little brushing up on my part, I should be able to really talk the talk. If I completely immerse and apply myself, I might just be able to convince others of what a fine pilot I am.
Once while we were flying to Sylacauga, my pilot-friend showed me the flight plan and explained it to me. I’ll admit I did not really pay close attention to it at the time, but I know what it was for. To get to your destination, you have to have a flight plan filed with the proper authorities, and flying without one is a punishable offense. I know what a flight plan looks like and, most importantly, I know where to sign it. Surely that will be enough to impress any future, prospective employer.
And here’s the capper: A few years ago I did a little genealogical study on my family’s history. Guess what? Listed in the archives right around the beginning of the last century, via a far-off cousin, my family was related to none other than Orville and Wilbur Wright! That’s right (no pun intended), I even have the proper blood line to be a commercial aviator. At this point I feel as though it’s a shoo-in for me to be very soon flying the friendly skies as a pilot, thundering my 747 or 757 across the globe to the applause of millions of friendly sky travelers, and receiving a substantial pay check to boot. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.
Oh, you say, there’s a problem? What? No degree from an accredited school? No actual experience? No… license?
What do you know? Who are you to rain on my well-thought-out parade?
I can talk the talk, and I have the lineage. I’ve studied the lives of pilots and what is even more; I look good in a uniform due to my younger years in the military. Believe me, I can wear it well.
(Sigh) On second thought, I guess you’re right. There are steps that need to be taken, and talking the talk is not the same as actually walking the walk. I can’t become an airline pilot based on lineage or knowledge of the lives of historical pilots. It’s ludicrous to think that way. And though I can buy a uniform at a costume store, and wear it well enough to actually look like a pilot and might even fool a few people in the process, I’ll still be a cheap imitation. I can know the nuances of a flight plan, and throw in a few words from the pilot jargon handbook, but the problem will arise when I actually get behind the wheel and find myself face-to-face with all of those buttons and switches. At that point even I will have to admit I am lost as a goose in the cockpit. The game will be over. An epic fail will result, as my youngest son would say.
This sounds preposterous and it should, not only in the realm of aviation, but in the spiritual world as well. I also cannot be born again based upon my knowledge of the lives of other Christians, and I can’t merely put on a good show by saying and doing all the right things. In doing so, although I might fool others, I cannot fool G_d. By the same token, salvation cannot be gained through my family or by my relatives; it is something I have to do on my own. Jesus described it like this: “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
Salvation must be a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. There is no other way and there is no secret, hidden short cut to achieve it otherwise. Saying the right things over and over, attending church on a regular basis, and talking about G_d to all who will listen is not enough. It has to be personal and from the heart. It’s about losing your will and giving in to His will, and accepting the salvation that He so readily offers to each and every one of us.
Guess I’ll just stick to being an engineer and depend on Him to handle those things in the future that I cannot control. That’s a much better career plan.