“Hope in a Desert Place” (Part 3) – “Flying High” by Elaine Sommers
I am a bit of a birdwatcher, although you won’t find me hiding in the bushes with binoculars and a notebook. No, I just love watching birds, especially when they’re in flight. The ones which I enjoy most are those which soar. I’ve marvelled at red kites in the Wye Valley, eagles in the Scottish Highlands and lammergeiers in Nepal.
And from early childhood I dreamt that one day I would be able to fly.
So, as a student I took up skydiving, which gave me the feeling of floating, although I was actually falling to earth at 120 miles per hour. Later I switched to paragliding, probably the nearest a human can get to flight. I learnt to circle in thermals, and once or twice had the privilege of soaring with the birds, following them towards the clouds.
My chosen verse has come to mean so much to me in my life, although I must confess that I have spent much of it flapping my wings in my own strength.
But there was another reason why I took to the air. As a trans person, born male, one of the reasons I took up these adventurous activities was an attempt to expunge the female side of my identity from my life. As I discovered, it didn’t work!
Then came the day when I crashed my glider and nearly died. As I lay on my back, a voice in my head said: ‘I knew I’d get my way in the end’.
From that moment, I knew that my struggle with my gender was over. I realised that Elaine was an integral part of me and I had found an inner peace, and most importantly peace with God.
I often think of the eagles and how they rely on those invisible currents of air to lift them up to new heights. Trusting God’s Spirit to lead us through life in all we do is so important.
Every day I thank God for sparing my life and leading me daily to new things.
Help us God to trust you for everything and not rely on our own strength. Fill us with your Spirit to be ourselves and to reach new heights for you.
Tomorrow – Clare Bryden, “Springs in the Desert”, Psalm 84: 5 – 6