First Valentine

I inhabited the sky that day. Jesus let me play with clouds, soar with eagles and race the wind. He showed me sights that multitudes dreamt of, many yearned for, but few realized. Clearly He cared enough to grant my deepest desires.

So why was I angry?

What MAF Pilot Jim Manley sees as he flies above the cloudsA few minutes before, I was cruising west, high in the smooth, cool air above a scattered layer of cotton-ball clouds that hid the jungle. Snow topped mountains jutted from the horizon like distant cliffs from a rolling white sea. My passengers settled into their own thoughts. The long day behind me, I flew home to family and dinner. But the dispatcher’s call changed that.

I turned, descending back to the east, into wet heat and mud. Not even for an emergency. Somebody convinced the flight coordinator they “had to have” a flight today. That would cost me the hour I counted on, had earned, in fact.

They better be ready on the ground. I’ve got one seat available and I’m not waiting around for people to decide who goes and stays. And their cargo better fit in the pod. I’m not moving my passengers out to retie the load in back.

MAF planes bring great anticipation to those nationals they serveI lined up on final approach, finished the checklist, noted runway still clear and wind okay. I was good to land. Land? None of us had landed there for a month, maybe more. From a half mile out I could see them gathering, pointing up at me. The landing I resented was a big deal to the entire village.

Then it hit me. Jesus, you drenched me with your amazing love all day. I can’t manufacture that myself, but I can pass it on because you first loved me.

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