It was only a small yellow airplane! What harm could it cause? True, it appeared as if it were dancing and twirling across the expanse of flowering potato plants, careless of tall trees and telephone poles! The pilot had a plan though. His job was to get close to the ground. And kill bugs. The sudden appearance over the roof of our house and loud roar of the engine just came with the territory. But try to explain that to a three year old!
Summer night entertainment at the Carpenter household often came at the first sound of the crop duster. Our oldest children, Tyler and Amy, would burst through the screen door laughing and waving at the pilot in the golden sunshine. They would tip their heads back and see the white belly of the airplane as it scarcely missed the roof of our house, skimmed over the shed just beyond the swing set and cruised off to the far end of the field.
Even one-year-old Kobe stood and pointed, eyes open wide! But at three, Corey was one terrified little boy whenever the crop duster appeared. As the family would pour out of the house, calling to one another, “the spray plane is here! The spray plane is here!” Corey would make a beeline for the safety of his bedroom.
“There he is,” Tim pointed towards the bedroom window one evening where Corey peeked out fearfully from behind the curtain. Try as we might, there was nothing we could say or do to coax Corey to come outside with the rest of the family.
The following day, as I readied Corey for another fun day of building roads and digging holes in the backyard sandbox, he leaned his head against my shoulder, “I don’t wanna go outside.” Surprised, I searched his face for any tell-tale sign of sickness. “Are you not feeling well?”
Corey’s blond hair shook side to side vigorously as he played with his toenails. I made a mental note to clip them after his evening bath. “Why don’t you want to go? Are you afraid of the spray plane?” I asked. He nodded, nervously searching the sky for the cause of his fears.
Try as I might, nothing could convince Corey to venture further than the safety of our back porch. We had been through this conversation often enough for me to know that telling him the spray plane had gone home for the day, was likely eating breakfast, and Mommy plane wouldn’t let him go outside anymore, wasn’t going to work.
“Get off the porch, Corey!” I kept telling him, “Go out and play!” Yet, his perspective of the spray plane is different from mine. I know it’s nothing for him to fear, but in his eyes it’s pretty scary out there.
It bothers me to see my children losing out on simple joys in life because of their fears and anxieties, and while considering Corey’s situation, God spoke to my heart. “You’ve been there, too, Lynette. You prefer to stay where you’re comfortable! You find it hard to venture out to where I’m calling you! The things that hold you back are like that spray plane, they look big to you, but I know it’s nothing to fear. Get off the porch, Lynette. The wonderful things I want you to enjoy can’t be experienced from where you hide.”
Corey’s fear of the spray plane helped me understand Proverbs 3:5 more clearly, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Normally, I focus on the first part - to trust while overlooking the last part – lean not on my own understanding. My understanding isn’t always right!
“Come,” I offer Corey my hand. His blonde hair falls over the big green eyes so much like his fathers’. He turns towards me – uncertain. “I’ll be with you, Corey. You don’t have to be afraid. Mommy will stay with you the whole time.” I turn my head quickly as we step off the porch together. I don’t want him to see the tears welling up in my eyes as I hear my Father’s voice echoing mine. “Run, laugh, dance! Don’t waste one more moment of golden sunlight leaning on your own understanding! Let Me keep an eye on the horizon! Let Me take your fear!”