As Labor Day approaches, most of us can remember going back to school and the teacher gave us an assignment to share something about our summer vacation. (Some will need to remember further back than others!)
I would have to report that my summer was incredible! It was busy, but it was a great way to be busy. We had nine Summer Friendship Gatherings. Each of the Gatherings were filled with excitement and life-changing stories of God at work.
One of my Gathering stories happened at Christ the Savior where I met CP, a man who has autism. He likes to be called CP which are also his initials.
From the beginning, I could see that CP was an interesting person. Over three evenings, we had several conversations, and one of them surprised me. He told me he liked to fly. Not on large commercial planes, but small private planes.
He asked me if I wanted to go flying with him. Even though I was stunned, I said yes. In over 30 years of ministry, I participated in lots of activities with our friends with disabilities, but I never went flying!
CP’s support staff called a couple weeks later with a specific date. My wife Linda wasn’t excited, but I agreed to go and put the date on my calendar. I never flew in a small, private plane and was nervous!
I met CP at Tom Wood Aviation in Fishers along with his pilot Robert. The plane was a small four-seater. My anxiety rose when CP climbed into the pilot seat, and I climbed into a rather small backseat.
Robert, who was the pilot, got in next to CP and started the plane. We taxied to the runway and off we went. It was a beautiful day and I praised God that there wasn’t any turbulence.
Once we were airborne Robert turned the controls over to CP and we headed toward Morse Reservoir. CP leveled the plane out and followed Robert’s directions. CP liked to make turns lowering the wings and pitching the plane one way or the other.
We also flew over Geist reservoir and then turned the plane back towards the airport. Robert took over the controls and landed the plane. I refrained from kissing the ground so I wouldn’t hurt CP’s feelings.
I share this story because, like all of us, our friends with disabilities have gifts and talents given to them by God. If I hadn’t take time to get to know CP at the Gathering, I would not have learned that he loved to fly. I also would have missed a fantastic Sunday afternoon with CP, and a good friend. Thank you CP!