Tag Archives: journal

Re-Post: Polar Express (2004)

This is a repost/rewrite of a blog I wrote in 2004. At the time I was running a blog called “Tribal Courage” that specifically spoke to men. It was very early work for me in blogging. I was going through some major changes in life at the time and had found two great resources. The first was John Elredge’s book, Wild at Heart. The second was by Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul- a book I wish somebody/anybody had shoved in my hands when I was a much younger man. I found my original blog while surfing the net the other night- and thought it would be interesting to re-post. I had started journaling, something most explorers seem to have in common with each other. Perhaps it is the desire to truly know and understand ourselves as we push through what seems to be incredible experiences to others- as we are simply living in the moment, and then simply reflecting on it. The blog I wrote in 2004 corresponds with the season, as well as a reflection of who I am, and a tiny insight to me as a person….

I’m trapped. Coming off a my expedition in the Chiuauan Desert of Northern Mexico, having a near death experience at the hands of a faulty water bladder and dehydration, a new commitment to family, fatherhood, and husband…I decided to treat my family to a night out at the “nice theatre” and not the sticky floors of the “cheap” theater…

We promise my 3-year-old to go see a movie—I vote for “The Incredibles”. A great movie about a family of superheros who put aside differences, depression, the sence of inadiquacy….who hasn’t lived that life? This speaks to my heart and its just what I need to hear at this moment.

I lose. Not to the popularity of vote for another, film, but rather to the availability of tickets. So we buy our passes for “Polar Express”

I’m trapped in another sense. I can’t go to a film these days without pulling some kind of message from it. But maybe this one is safe…or so I thought. Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Good Will Hunting…all have deep messages for me about the making of a man, the battles within, the path to becoming a stand-up guy, a warrior defending my family, my faith, my own soul.

I don’t want to get too specific at this point—I don’t want to ruin the movie for you if you haven’t seen it. I also want you to pull out your own themes—maybe we can sit down and discuss it sometime over hot chocolate—served from a more subdued staff than the movie represented.

The spiritual themes that run through “Polar Express” are themselves incredible. The theme of wanting to believe, but not coming to grasp with belief, yearning to hear there is an incredible message for each of us individually, even when others are around you who can hear it, yet no matter how hard you strain to listen-nothing. Silence. Desolation. It feels like abandonment.

Perhaps how at one time we have received something special. Something deep, something spiritual, a very special gift, like the speaking to our heart about who we are, our desires, a special name to be called… a special message-and then losing it…

Then the final scene of that desire being written on our hearts. For some its a new destiny, maybe our new name…simply scribbled onto our heart…a name that in the beginning of a journey had only a few letters.

I saw my own spiritual journey reflected in this film. I understood the frustration of not being able to hear God’s voice when others where having larger than life experiences. I could relate the “wandering” that was taking place on the train, sometimes leading to possible dangers, only to be rescued before I got seriously hurt.

In my own journey I have had the displeasure of being surrounded by those that I had to pull along, the occasional “pain in the @$$” know it all, as well as others who were on the same journey—who built my own confidence and helped me to reach my destination.

Post-It Notes

The past few weeks I have been dedicating myself to doing more solo time. However there was a minor miscommunication between my instructor and myself. Once I did my solo flight he gave me the green light to fly and check in with him about every other week. We agreed to this when I was only flying once or twice a week. I came into some extra funding to support my aviation addiction and well, I made seven flights without going back to my instructor.

I should point out- this isn’t because your instructor doesn’t want you to have a good time or because you are a source of income- it is primarily a safety precaution.

I had developed several bad habits that if it wasn’t for Jeff catching- I could have gotten hurt or worse- killed.

So this morning we flew again. Now this was our second flight in the past week with one solo in between. I came back from my last two flights, one dual and one solo, with my confidence shaken. I think Jeff could sense this. He knows I drive myself pretty hard and have a hard time taking feedback when I think I have been doing the right thing. He also knows that for me- I’m either making an “A” or making an “F” when I grade myself. Again- I tend to drive myself very hard. When you look for an instructor- don’t just settle for one that is technically proficient, has the best price, or is the “club recommended CFI”. Choose the one that you can build a relationship with. Remember, the CFI works for you, but make this a partnership. Jeff and I spend a lot of time crammed into the cockpit of a Cessna 152, it is important that we get along. This is the responsibility of both the student and the instructor.

Jeff set me up with some great confidence boosters. After doing a few touch and go’s, he covered up the instruments with post it notes. He let me keep the tachometer and clock. Everything else was covered. We were in real VFR mode. While we stayed in the pattern he would ask me questions about my airspeed, what altitude I thought I was at, etc. We did two landings like this. It really helped me understand what the “picture” should look like during take off, landing, and each transition.

We also did some simulated engine failure exercises. The first attempt I came up a little short of the runway and had to execute a go around. The next few times I was able to bring it back in and on one occasion landed without flaps.

My flying funds are getting tight right now and I’ve run out of things to sell, so I’m not real sure how much time I will be putting in the next few weeks. I will still fly each week, but I will be dropping my time substantially.

On a side not- I did get the new website launched and if you need training materials, please purchase it through my on-line partnership with Amazon. You will find it under the “resources” link. The website address is http://www.barnstormingblarney.com

Over the next lessons I will be working on short and soft field take-offs, more hood work/instrument flying, and practicing more stalls. At some point I want to take the Cessna 172 out again, this time with my daughter and (of course) Jeff, so she can experience flying in a small plane…but we’ll have to see.

Total Hours: 28.5
Total Solo: 7.1
Total Landings: 99