A life well lived
I didn't really know what I was getting into when I said "yes" to becoming a pilot's wife. To be fair, I knew that I didn't know. How can you ever be fully sure of something that you've never experienced before?
I didn't marry pilot Cal. I married accountant Cal. Oh, I had our lives all planned out.
Age 27: buy a home (in Indiana, because that's where we were sure to stay), maybe a dog.
Age 28: have some babies (note: be done by age 31).
Age 31-55 (ish): raise said babies.
Age 55-65: enjoy a quiet home again, travel, maybe retire early, have some grandbabies.
Age 65+: live it up in retirement, maybe move to Florida, soak in a life well lived.
I'm not joking when I said I had it all planned. I didn't realize at the time that placing these expectations on myself would mean a constant battle with discontent and comparison. I never could have imagined that Cal's career would radically shift, and with it, our lives.
So, this is kind of out of left field..., he said one day, ...but I think I want to become a pilot.
As shocking as it was, it sort of made a lot of sense. He had mentioned things in passing here and there, but never in any sort of seriousness. But with his innate sense of direction, his mechanical left brain, and his need for adventure, it just seemed to.... fit.
We decided to pray long and hard on it. If I knew one thing, it was that I did not want to make the decision alone or solely based on practicality. I needed to know that this was the Lord's leading.
It feels silly to say out loud because aviation is not inherently spiritual, and I hate when we convince ourselves that decisions are the "Lord's will" just because we want it to be so. But after months of prayers, fasting, and wrestlings with community went by, the answer remained the same: be a pilot. Press into what makes you fully alive. Fly high, build a home.
A lot of well meaning friends and loved ones have told me what a rockstar wife I am to support my husband in the way that I do. And while it deeply encourages me, it's not as hard as what you may think. When we are given the gift of crystal clear discernment, we are meant to press into it. Fully and whole heartedly, we must run the race that was meant for us.
Cal has been gone all of 2018. He finished his commercial ratings here in Denver, meaning he has all of the qualifications to become a commercial pilot, except for the one tiny detail that he needs 1,500 hours to get a job in the airlines. To do this, he needs to find an interim job to build his hours. He has about 250 right now, meaning he needs 1,000+ more. We decided that him working as a flight instructor was the quickest and most painless way to do this, so he was whisked away to Florida to complete flight instructor school. What was meant to be 3 weeks has now turned into 2 months and counting.
There are a lot of factors that play into the timeline. The availability of the examiners and the weather are the two main reasons that he has been stuck there. Lately, we've been wrestling with our decision to move forward in this career. It feels like endless sacrifice. Our lives look drastically different than our friends and peers, and we struggle with that ramifications of that.
Heart heavy, I texted Cal today saying I don’t want to just selfishly use aviation to further our own comforts, you know? I don't want this to just be for us. Because then it isn't worth it. None of this would be worth anything if it isn't used to help build the Kingdom.
He responded, saying that he went for a long walk on the beach that afternoon, reflecting on how clear the Lord made it that this is what our lives were meant be. Because the Lord wouldn't lead us into something and then not use it for His good and His glory. And as confusing as it may seem, there's a reason we are here, now, in this space.
To be frank, I’m not writing this for you. I’m writing this for me. I’m writing this because we can never have enough reminders that a life is never perfect, no matter how perfectly curated it seems to be. All social media comments aside, don’t we always try to project ourselves in the best light? Whether that be in conversation, in writing, in pictures, in prayer…. it’s our tendency to tweak just a little bit to make ourselves believe that the pain and the difficulties aren’t THAT big of a deal.
And compared to some, this isn't that big of a deal. But, for us, it is. Sitting here in an empty kitchen, for me it is a big deal. Falling asleep, for the 60+ night in a row alone, for Cal it is a big deal.
Clinging to the Father, who wants to walk alongside it all with us, is the only foundation on which we stand, especially when the hardships feel really hard and the difficulties feel really difficult. Acknowledging that sacrifice is tough leads us to path that allows us to flourish in the midst of trials. Remembering that the Lord is good (even when His definition is very different from ours) is how we continue to run the race, not looking back.
Let me be clear, you don't have to move across the country or switch life paths to radically risk. Risk comes in loving the unloveable. It shows up when we forgive the unforgivable. It is seen when we choose to strip the idols and sacrifice the comfort. Sometimes, it's risky to just get out of bed and face another day.
There will be other struggles and new trials. The race isn't won until we are safely home in His arms, and it's naive to believe that we are asked to risk sparingly. But the alternative is a life lived on the outside, void of purpose and obedience.
Courage is embracing risk, leaning into the discomfort, and continuing to walk forward when you are scared senseless. And the more we move forward, the easier it becomes.
To a life well lived,
Let's connect on Instagram! Follow me at @abbiegmeyer for more encouragement and real life snapshots.