Ignoring ‘Plane’ Instruction!


Flying is statistically the safest form of travel. So, it was interesting to me when a friend of mine related this harrowing tale.

He said that he was once on a flight where a goose was sucked into the engine, upon takeoff, of the commercial flight he was on. The plane had to turn around and attempt to land at the airport they had just left. The passengers were all informed that they needed to prepare for a crash landing. My friend told me how strange it was to think that his life would end by dying in a plane crash. “So, this is the way it ends for me”, is what he thought. But, fate was on their side that day and they were able to land safely, without incident, surrounded by a runway of emergency vehicles. He then told me that the passengers were escorted off the plane and within a short time they were loaded onto another plane. But this time he said, he noticed a remarkable difference in how attentive the passengers were to the flight attendants explanation and demonstration of what to do in case of an emergency. In the previous flight, the attendant had stood in the aisle giving her emergency “talk,” while the uninterested passengers fidgeted with their ipods, magazines, and other items. No one seemed interested in anything being said. In fact, the attendant appeared to be nothing more than an annoyance to the passengers. But now, on the second flight, after the scare, everyone’s eyes were transfixed on the attendant as she gave the instructions on how to secure their seat belts, on how to use the drop down oxygen masks, and where to find the nearest emergency door for escape. The message hadn’t changed, but the people’s minds had been opened!

It is easy to ignore “plane instructions”, when they seem so, well, unimportant. I know that I have seen these attendants instructions as an annoyance more than once while flying. Often it takes a “scary” experience for us to take them seriously. For some, though, the second flight or chance never comes. The plane goes down and the “plane instruction” given at the beginning of the flight, if ignored, ended up being fatal. So, too is our spiritual life. We are on a journey; we are given “plain instruction” from apostles and prophets. They instruct us on how to handle emergencies during our flight here on earth. They teach us how to survive in a hostile world and how to best escape when faced with spiritual death. Often we don’t listen because it seems so….so “unimportant.” After all nothing is going to happen if I live my life in accordance to the gospel principles.

As we experience life, we come to understand that tragedies happen to good and righteous people. Emergencies do come up and when they do we want to be as prepared as possible. Sometimes tragedies cannot be avoided. We can listen and follow all the instructions and still fall victim to the agency that exists in this world. But we can often avoid sorrow by listening to the “plain instructions” given to us by our priesthood leaders. In so doing we can find comfort in knowing that we have done all that we can. Then we have to trust in the Lord and His promises.

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