The Runway Lullaby
It’s been a strange week. I made my monthly trek (trip #69 or so) to Dallas, heading south on Monday and returning Tuesday afternoon. While the trip is only one day, I admit that each month it takes its toll on me. When I am at my client’s office, I really give it my all, and in addition to the work of the day, I usually go out to dinner and continue discussing plans for the business. So, I pretty much go non-stop with the exception of a few hours of sleep.
Anyway, Tuesday morning I finished my work and headed back to DFW, waiting for my flight back to Indy. It had already been something of an unusual morning. It snowed in Dallas on Monday evening and many flights into and out of DFW were cancelled. By the grace of God, mine wasn’t one of them. In fact, my flight was on-time and since I was flying first class, I anticipated a much more pleasant experience that usual.
To cut to the chase, the gate agents announced the initial boarding of the flight and those of us in first class headed to the gate. Frankly, at least most of the time, the passengers in first class are experienced fliers who use jet travel the way most of us use our cars to get from one place to another. They all have their idiosyncrasies and know what they will have to drink, the meal they will be served and that the flight attendant will be around to offer them the chance to have their sport coat hung up. There isn’t a whole lot of discussion or conversation – everybody knows the routine and the goal is to get up in the air and to the next destination safely, in as much comfort as possible.
I’m sure that on occasion, first class passengers can be an inconvenience to the flight attendants. After all, they fly tens of thousands of miles a year and expect to be treated with a little extra care. They don’t like storing bags under their feet, even with the extra room in first class, and sometimes they request things like alcohol early in the morning, or coffee before it is made, which usually doesn’t happen until we reach cruising altitude. But I can take that all in stride. The seats are comfortable and after the trip I had, I was just looking forward to sitting back and relaxing.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone. As we boarded and settled in, at least eight other passengers in first class also had their eyes closed and were just letting down. No talk – just tired road warriors trying to get back home to their loved ones. We listened as the aircraft door was closed, the pilot and co-pilot locked themselves in the cockpit and the flight attendants made the cursory announcements about the seat belts, oxygen masks, floor lighting and the flotation devices onboard. Then, we taxied out to the runway and waited our turn. All was silent…
Just then, I heard a strange noise, like talking, coming from the front galley area. But it wasn’t talking – it was singing. And then it got louder… It turns out that the first class flight attendant was singing a lullaby to all of the weary men and women in first class who were sitting there with their eyes closed. I didn’t bother opening my eyes, but I know that I was smiling; and I’ll bet the other first class passengers were as well. It was just one of those indescribable moments when everything outside that cabin just melted away – all the cares of the world faded into the background as we listened to this woman sing softly to us. I’ve never experienced anything like that ever before. Honestly, it was awesome… I really enjoyed the experience.
I am reminded that in the Bible, there are three notable songs sung by women. First, there was Miriam’s Song, sometimes called the “Song of the Sea” sung by Miriam, the sister of Moses and recorded in Exodus 15:20-21, praising God for deliverance across the Red Sea. The second one is referred to as “The Song of Hannah,” sung as praise to God after the birth of her child, Samuel. It is recorded in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. The third notable song was recorded when Mary sung in the presence of Elizabeth after the announcement that Mary was with child. The song, sometimes referred to as the “Magnificat”, or the “Canticle of Mary” is recorded in Luke 1:46-55. Some people would argue that there is a fourth song, sung by Deborah, the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. Her song, called the “Song of Deborah” is recorded in Judges 5:2-31, but purists will tell you that she sang her song with Barak, the military leader in a successful campaign that the Israelites won. So it really doesn’t count as being sung alone by a woman…
It is important to remember that all of these songs were sung as acts of praise for one thing or another. Tonight’s verse is the opening stanza sung by Mary, the mother of our Savior. We are told in Luke 1:46-48, “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
My encouragement this evening is that God enjoys it when you praise Him, whether it is through prayer or song, or even silence. My prayer is that you will be so enamored with God and so in awe of His power and majesty that you will break into song as praise to God. And then, just like I did sitting on the plane, you will enjoy His divine peace. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace.