By Norris Burkes Dec 30 2918
If you’ve read my book, “Thriving Beyond Surviving,” you’ll know that the book expounds on “Faith and the other six F-words I live by.”
Near the top of my list is “flight.” As I describe flight, I mention how pilots prepare for their journey by filing a flight plan with the FAA.
During this last week of the year, it is a good time to ask yourself, “What is my personal flight plan for the New Year?” While the question is mostly metaphorical, your plans, like mine, may include literal flights.
Honestly, I have not yet fully formulated my plan because sometimes one must simply barrel down the runway and take off by faith.
At least that’s what I learned a few weeks ago when I returned to work as a hospice chaplain. Taking little time to think about it, I committed to spending two days a week visiting patients in their homes to discuss the unimaginable news that now dominates their life.
In my spare time, I hope to join my pastor, Mike Bivens, as we explore ways in which the Disaster Relief Ministries of California will help the burned-out communities of Paradise. I do these two things, work and volunteer, because I’m convinced that faith doesn’t work unless it works.
My tentative plan for next year also includes some literal flying. I begin the year by boarding a plane to Orlando, where I’ll continue the speaking tour I kicked off in June, with itineraries to New York, Ohio and Missouri. My speeches take me into churches, hospitals and civic organizations and provide me the much-needed reader contact that helps keeps my writing relevant.
Of course “family” is always in my flight plan, so in March, my wife and I fly to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to meet our daughter, Sara, director of the Chispa Project. Once on the ground, we will rendezvous with a dozen of my readers from South Carolina, Alabama, California and Ohio to help Chispa launch two new children’s libraries.
On arrival, we’ll unpack our suitcases loaded with 1,000 books and then inventory and catalog those titles. We will spend the rest of the week painting and decorating those libraries before we conclude with an inauguration that includes a festival of reading activities.
In 2019, Chispa’s flight plan takes them over new territory as they open 10 libraries in just one year. If you can’t fly with us, perhaps you will help with the most dreaded F-word, “finances.” This past month, Chispa raised more than 40 percent of its 2019 goal of $20,000. With a gift of $25, you can give a kid a library and fly his imagination around the world. chispaproject.org/nextchapter.html.
But we have one more flight in the works. Our son who flew the coop to join the Marines has momentarily perched in our downstairs garage room. He’s learned that sometimes plans go awry, but he must still make them. He’s currently filing a flight plan toward Alaska to search for work on a commercial or sport fishing boat. To that end, he’s setting up a Dad-fund-me account.
One final thing I know about flight plans comes from my time in the Air Force. A good pilot always uses a flight plan because it helps him avoid something called loitering time. Loitering is the wasted time a pilot can spend circling the landing spot and needlessly expending fuel.
Don’t spend your next year loitering over your target. Make plans that include flight, family and faith.