Fear of Flying

In February, an opportunity arose for me to go visit my husband in Korea. WHOA.

I could not stop dreaming about it. How lucky am I that I am able to go visit my husband mid-deployment. Every military wife would kill for the chance to do that. My Rodan and Fields income from the previous month gave us a big cushion for the expenses that came along with the trip. I was all over it and extremely excited but one thing held me back.

My fear of flying.

I was going to have to conquer 3 different flights.

Atlanta to Seattle: 5.5 hours

Seattle to Japan: 9.5 hours

Japan to Korea: 2.5 hours

Grand Total= 17.5 hours of flying.

My heart sank. 2.5 hour flights from here to Oklahoma scare me. Now they weren’t looking so bad in comparison to the others.

Now I’m conflicted. I love my husband. The idea of seeing him seems so right. Everything fell into place perfectly. The only weeks I could go were conveniently the weeks of his military ball, his birthday, and our winter break for lacrosse which means we had family back home available to watch the babies. I prayed and prayed and prayed about what the right decision would be and every time I feel like God was telling me to go.

Then I started thinking of my fear of flying. It would literally consume me. I would start thinking of all the negatives and some were ridiculous. I allowed the devil to enter my heart and mind and TAKE OVER. I day dreamed about crashing over the ocean, something going wrong with the plane, something happening to me in Korea, something happening to my babies. Then I would become overwhelmed with sadness thinking about leaving the babies for 2 weeks. I’ve never been away from either of them for that long.

I was in this state of “BLEH” for months. I already have S.A.D. It’s been an issue for me since High School, followed by anxiety and depression. Not many understand or are willing to. It’s better now that I’m an adult and since I married Clay I have not had to deal with it as much. When he left in October, it’s like everything grew cold and dead again. I was immediately reacquainted with my HS self. I needed this. I NEEDED to see my husband.

I have God, my babies, and lacrosse to lean on, to help push me through and they are enough. I just knew if I saw him, I would have that light back in my life again. I think God knew that too.

My best friend, okay I have a lot of best friends, but seriously my oldest best friend that’s been by my side since elementary school BEST FRIEND had just recently come back from a mission trip and decided to come over and visit me one morning. I was struggling to wake up that day and the babies were too. It was like 11 AM. She could tell I just wasn’t myself. She literally just walked into the house and came down to my room. I’m pretty sure that’s the truest sign of a best friend. They just let themselves in….

After small talk, she just cut to the chase and said she was worried about me. Not in an ugly way but a genuine way. She’s the only non-military person that I have talked to since Day 1 of this deployment, besides a conversation on the back porch with my dad, that made me feel like she understood what I was feeling AND that it was okay for me to be feeling those things. I didn’t feel judged. She didn’t make me feel like a bad mom or a bad person. I sat and talked with her for an hour about everything. She listened. She asked me questions that made me challenge myself. She asked me questions that I didn’t want to hear my own answer to. I told her my concerns and fears about leaving. I told her why I wanted to go.  Literally, if anyone else asked me the questions she asked I probably would have been offended and just blown up on them.

She told me she had to go back to church but she wanted to continue our conversation later. I walked her out to the driveway and before she left, she told me I should go. And that sealed the deal. After she left I felt 100% at peace about the trip. I don’t know why, lots of people told me to go, but when she said it, it felt justified. I didn’t feel guilty for wanting to leave and see Clay. I didn’t feel bad for burdening anyone with the babies. I didn’t feel like a bad mom for disappearing for two weeks. I was going to see my husband. I was going to blast out of my comfort zone and JUST DO IT.

*Nike Sponsorship?….. jk

The morning of the first flight, I’m pretty sure my heart and my stomach were tied in a big knot. I choked down every tear kissing my babies goodbye. My dad dropped me off at the airport which was probably the best case scenario. He’s the least emotional, or the best at hiding it? He has always had a way of just making me feel very calm and confident, much like my husband, and he helps me conquer my fears. They both have always pushed me and challenged me.

The flight was surprisingly smooth, I was lucky and got a seat near the wings of the plane and the plane was huge so I couldn’t feel much. I took a sleeping pill to help me get some rest and it ended up not working. I was so tired but I had a middle seat and the guy next to me took the arm rest so I had nothing to lean on comfortably while I napped which left me conscious but basically sedated with no way to sleep so when we landed in Seattle I was exhausted.

I checked in for my flight the next morning and as I was waiting on my bags, I felt like a train had just plowed through my body. I started getting really sick and dizzy. My throat hurt. My muscles were weak and sore. My skin was hypersensitive and I could feel myself getting a fever. I grabbed my bag and decided to walk to the hotel we were staying at. It was only a mile. I could have taken the bus but they ran every 25 minutes to our specific hotel and apparently it had just come by. I didn’t want to wait that long in the cold so I just walked. I got my room key, went to the room and immediately got in bed. I felt so sick. My MIL just said she had the flu so I was worried I was showing symptoms. I couldn’t get on the plane the next morning with the flu!

I tried to sleep it off but my heart was racing. An hour later my friend arrived and she was like,” Dang, you don’t look good.” Great first words after seeing someone for the first time in 5 months haha

She was awesome. She immediately ran down stairs and bought a ton of medicine and told me to take it all, lol. She ended up meeting up with family for dinner and I bought a fruit cup and a cup of hot tea from the little restaurant downstairs. I took a hot bath and tried to get a few hours of sleep.

The next morning I still felt uneasy but worlds better than I did when I got off the plane so I decided to go. We checked in and waited to see if we had made the list. That’s the only down side to flying Space A, you never know if you will make the flight or not. They called my friend and then finally,” Rutherford!” I was so relieved yet terrified.

I made the flight! I was going to see Clay. Now I had to cross the ocean… for 9 hours.

I was able to sleep the majority of the flight and the majority of the turbulence we hit was while I was sleeping. They played movies and TV shows for us. We were served two hot meals that actually weren’t bad. I had a row to myself in the back so I took the window and stretched out. A couple hours into the trip we flew over some beautiful mountains covered in ice. It was like a scene out of a movie on another planet. It was breathtaking, untouched, raw land. I looked up our flight route when I got back and found out we had actually flown over part of the Aleutian Islands!

We landed in Japan for a brief layover so they could unload some passengers, allow new passengers to join us and to refuel the plane. I did not see much of Japan. The mountain ranges in the distance were beautiful. The air had a sweet smell. The trees are very elongated and a deep, dark green color. I hope to go back with Clay sometime and actually explore!

The last leg of the flight to Korea was short. I napped for a little bit but my stomach was in knots! I was so excited to see Clay. The plane touched down and I started sobbing. First of all, I was extremely proud of myself. Second, I was so grateful to God that we landed and he guided that plane so gracefully. He was with me every second.

I was overwhelmed with joy, nerves, excitement… I just wanted to jump on Clay and hug his neck SO BADLY. I kept picturing it over and over and over.

We got our bags and Customs took longer than I thought it would. The guys had jumped on a train to meet us so we waited at the hotel on base until they were close. The plan was to take a taxi to the train station closest to base but turns out there are like 3 stops outside of post to choose from and we had NO IDEA how to get there or where we were going AND it was raining. Our phone service was limited so we just decided to stay put at the hotel and the guys were going to pick us up there. Waiting was painful and 2 hours felt like forever knowing the other half of my heart was traveling closer to mine by the second. I just wanted to see him!

Clay said it is not like America, the taxi will not wait on you to get your bags and get back in, so we had to hurry and try to keep our taxi. I saw them pull up out front. I could hear his voice through the doors and I could pick out the back of my husband’s head in a crowd of a million. My heart was pounding. I ran out the doors and tackled him before he could even turn around. Words can’t describe how amazing that hug felt. We got my bags, he gave me a big kiss and our taxi ditched us. We didn’t care too much, we were just happy to be back together. Luckily someone was dropped off right behind us so we jumped in that cab.

We attempted to find our way back on the trains but ended up getting lost and it was freezing. We got as close as we could to post on the train, because its the cheapest way to travel, and then jumped in another cab the rest of the way to save us some time. The guys had to be back on post in their rooms by a certain time and I had to check into my hotel. We made it with 30 minutes to spare thanks to a special taxi service in Korea called ” Bali Bali.” It’s either fun or horrifying depending on the type of person you are. For me, it was the latter.

We stopped at a little hole in the wall that the guys call “Ma’s.” (That’s not the actual name of the restaurant but “Ma” is the Korean way of saying “Mam” in America. Apparently “Ma” had the best french fries in the world so Clay had to buy me some. They were actually very good. I looked behind the counter and saw she was cooking them in soybean oil. They had hints of salty, sweet, and bitterness which is why I think it they were so delicious.

I enjoyed finally being able to eat with my husband again. I was holding his hand, kissing him, hugging him, talking to him… My heart was at peace.

Long plane rides still freak me out a little bit BUT I would travel around the world for him again in a heartbeat. It was worth everything. My world felt whole again. Now the babies were the only thing we were missing for it all to be just right. As much as we wanted them there, we agreed to take advantage of the time we had alone together so we could enjoy just being us again.

Blog  about our trip is T.B.C.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


Watch our reunion HERE!


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