Out on a walk with the dog I see an airplane in the sky. I don’t know when it started, but I pray for airplanes. It was long before 911, because I have a memory of sitting on a swing with a teen in a juvenile group home where I worked. We’d been taking a walk to help her calm down, and stopped at the swings on the playground. The place was little more than a holding tank until the kids grew up and committed real crimes and would end up in jail. That’s what it felt like sometimes. The system was very broken and it seemed I could barely do anything to truly help these girls.
So Kathy and I were on the swings, and a plane went by and I told her of this habit of mine to pray for those on planes, mostly to distract her, and she looked at me like I was crazy. But her eyes were mature, she’d seen way more shit than I had, seemed older than me in a way and said,
“I’m glad there are people like you in the world.”
I remember being taken back at the generosity of her statement.
She was 16, I was about 24. I remember her eyes. So tired she was already, but what a kind and deep heart she had.
So I know it started before 911, because I worked there in the mid 90’s.
Yesterday, out with Zora, who has some sort of bird dog in her because she notices planes too, we spotted one high in the sky, it was descending, getting bigger, and I prayed.
For the people on the plane.
At least one of them was probably petrified. Especially of landings.
I prayed for the parents on the plane, with the toddlers, (and/or the kids with special needs), attempting to keep masks on them.
I prayed for the flight crew. How hard it must be for them to enforce these policies.
I prayed for the mom with the epi pen on standby, hoping no one brought peanuts on board. And of course, for the parents of the crying babies.
I prayed for those in grief, heading to funerals.
For those anxious to get home to their families.
Those flying in for medical procedures.
I prayed for the tourists who were about to land in South Florida. I hoped their vacation would be all they hoped for. I looked around at the tropical foliage, and appreciated it fresh, knowing I once felt awe when I saw palm trees.
For the people on the plane in the window seat, looking down as the earth got closer, experiencing feelings of excitement.
Maybe there was someone on board flying for the very first time.
For the people in the back, near the bathroom, having heard and smelled everything that came along with those unfortunate seats.
I prayed for those anxious about making their connecting flight, finding their rental car, their luggage, their way around the airport.
For the good, strong men who would help fellow passengers lift their luggage down from the overhead.
For the person traveling alone for the first time.
I surrounded them all in a big bubble of love. And then I flung some metta up into the sky,
May they be happy.
May they be free from harm.
May they be as healthy and strong as they can be.
My they live with ease and well-being.
In my mind, I said,
“Safe travels, fellow humans. I love you.”