I’m currently writing a book called, We Will Be Landing Shortly, with the subtitle, Reflections on Being Terminal. The title is a phrase I’ve heard on every flight I’ve ever taken for almost forty years—and it’s always bothered me.
Whenever the flight attendant chants this mantra, I want to stand up and shout, “I don’t want to land SHORTLY! I want to make it all the way to the runway!” But this would only get me arrested by the sky marshal.
Back in the last century, I was a frequent flier. I used my trips as occasions to do a quick life-check. I would ask myself as the plane readied for takeoff if I was ready to go in the ultimate sense of the phrase. If things came to mind that needed attention, I wrote them down and purposed to address them as soon as possible. It proved a healthy discipline.
Susie’s death on Thanksgiving Day is a solemn reminder that we all are on “final approach.” Some of us will have time to get our seatbacks and tray tables in the upright and locked position. Others will crash with little warning and no time to prepare. The one invariable is that every one of us will be landing shortly.
Susan was ready because of how she lived her life every day, in public and in private. I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye so soon. Her legacy is her family and the thousands of people she blessed over the years.She always had open arms, a listening ear, a non-judgmental heart, an accepting nature, an inviting smile, a steadfast faith, and treats for her grandkids.
Susan wasn’t perfect. She never got the hang of gossip; didn’t know how to carry a grudge; couldn’t keep her checkbook closed when it came to others, would accept just about anybody as a friend, and routinely welcomed strangers into our home for months at a time.
I know where Susan is and I’m happy for her and at peace. I expect to join her some day. Maybe then she can explain to me what in the world God was thinking when he left me without adult supervision … and why he let her cut in line in front of me.
Susie, you can never be replaced, and you will never be forgotten. I love you deeply; always have, always will.