The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The Spirit lifts our faith

... and we're cleared for takeoff

"Cessna 7-3 Juliet Alpha, position and hold."

I taxi onto the runway and wait. I've done all I can to prepare, meticulously moving through a checklist to examine the plane's structure. I've checked the oil. Sumped for fuel impurities. Tested radios. Cleared weather conditions. Prepared flight plans. Adjusted my directional gyro and altimeter.

I wait. A Lear jet lands and a Sundowner takes off. Finally the words I've been waiting for: "Cessna 7-3 Juliet Alpha, cleared for takeoff."

Still a student pilot, I gulp and echo, "Cleared for takeoff, runway 3-4. 7-3 Juliet Alpha."

Schock and her flight instructor program
Schock and her flight instructor program the plane's GPS for her flight plan.

Brakes compress. Throttle full, the engine roars. I scan the gauges one last time before releasing the brakes. We roll, faster and faster, until my instructor says, "Rotate!"

I pull back on the yoke, and we're airborne.

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February issue


Embracing diversity