Volume 56:2 (2017)
Section and Issue


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Author Kim Webb Reid

Kim Webb Reid examines her lifelong fear of flying that began when a SkyWest flight crashed into a private plane over her elementary school while she was at recess. "Pilot error, the reports often say when there's an air disaster, as if that should make the public feel safer—as if piloting errors don't occur for me on a daily basis while I navigate through this life with anxiety."

Reid ponders the constant friction between the need for spiritual surrender and the impulse for physical survival. Her grandmother never owned a microwave oven because she knew it would cause cancer. But she died of cancer at age fifty-six. Her brothers died at forty-seven and almost fifty-seven. They had lived downwind from open-air nuclear testing. The biggest reason she's on earth, Reid surmises, is to learn the hardest lesson. She must surrender her trust to God without him promising her physical preservation in return.

"For me, it seems trust and fear will never be mutually exclusive. Spiritual surrender. Physical survival. The impulses cling to each other like flesh to spirit."

This essay won first place in the 2017 Richard H. Cracroft Personal Essay Contest.