Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

24 June 2012

Faith, Hope, and Bloggery

There is this woman with a blog who owns a helicopter company in Arizona. She operates a Robinson R-44, which is a popular small, economical four-seat ship powered by a Lycoming piston-engine. Every summer this woman flies her helicopter up here to Washington State and dries cherries with it. As we speak, she is located not far south of me.

In her blog, this woman often takes a strident, lecturing, know-it-all approach to her posts. We all know that writers can be very different people in person than they are on paper. In this case, the woman writes very well (and is a great photographer to boot). Nevertheless, I find her “personality” irritating. Unlike, oh, P.J. O’Rourke whom I’d love to meet, I really hope I never bump into this woman blogger in the Wenatchee Walmart.

The very first blogpost I read of hers concerned a conflict she had with a helicopter tour operator at some desolate, uncontrolled airport in the southwest (must’ve been near the Grand Canyon). Apparently the tour operator normally used two of the three front parking spots on the ramp. Instead of parking on the third front spot, this woman parked her helicopter on a spot behind the front three which was closer to the vehicle parking area than the third front spot. This interfered with the rapid approach and departure of the tour guys. They asked her to move, she declined, and it went downhill from there.

I won’t take sides because I obviously was not there. The tour pilots clearly felt that this woman was in their way, impeding the efficient flow of their operation on their airport. Hey, I know how pilots can be.  Oh, do I!

But instead of working it out with the pilots themselves or their Chief Pilot, or merely being cooperative and accommodating, this blogger woman mounted her high horse and went straight to the FAA. A lot of us would consider this a pretty chickenshit thing to do. But when you’re a pompous, relatively low-time “expert” in a field, you know better than anyone, by God! And that’s how this woman comes off in her posts.

I should ironically note here that this woman is proudly atheist. In another post, she bragged about browbeating a couple of religious proselytizers (probably Jehovah’s Witnesses) who made the mistake of knocking on her door. It was a middle-aged woman and a young girl. Our blogger says she invited them in and sat them down. Instead of a genuine back-and-forth discussion of faith, she proceeded to ridicule their beliefs and their religion, and openly try to change the mind of the young girl to a belief system that denies God.

As a person of faith, this was extremely offensive to me. You don’t want to believe in God? Go right ahead. But mocking someone because they do have faith is just childish and rude. As I’ve written before, humans have faith in a lot of things, not just a Creator. Without faith, it would be hard to get out of bed every morning. To deny this is silly. Yet atheists do. Alternatively, they want it both ways: They want to have faith in some things, just not a Creator. Yeah. Right.

In all of her writing, this blogger seems very unhappy and, you’ll pardon the term, unChristianlike. She complains a lot. A lot. Almost nothing goes her way. In fact, her blog is one diatribe after another chronicling some transgression someone has committed, or some rude thing she’s said or done to someone. She alluded to the breakup of her marriage. “…I’m going through some big changes right now,” she cryptically noted. (Gee, I wonder why, he thought sarcastically?)

It pains me to read the words of someone whose life is so fucked-up, especially that of a fellow helicopter pilot (and motorcyclist)! I know in my heart that this woman’s life would turn around if she would simply accept the fact that there is a Creator (whom most people call “God”), and realize that this Creator loves her and wants the best for her…a Creator she can call on to help her in times of stress or duress.

She would dispute this, of course, as all atheists do. She would swear that her life is just fine, thank you very much, Mr. Buttinski. “I have my own helicopter company and I’m a (self)published author and…and…” And yet it seems so empty or lacking to the outsider.

Let me ask you readers of this blog something. Does it seem like my life is bad? Does it seem like, in general, things don’t go my way or that bad shit is always happening to me? Wait – I’ll answer that for you: HELL NO! I love my life! I’d like to have more money (wouldn’t we all?) but I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Do I “owe it all” to God? No, but it would be wrong to deny His existence and influence and affect on my life. And anyway, on the other hand maybe I do owe it all to Him.  Maybe I owe more to God’s power and good grace than I’m even aware.

And so I continue to read this woman’s blog, hoping that one day she’ll “see the light” as it were and realize that there is “something” bigger than her out there. But right now, she is the biggest thing in her world. That’s a troubling philosophy, I’ll tell you what.

My faith is what sustains me, gives me the strength and courage to face and get through every day. My faith is what gives me hope that things can always get better…better even than they are now! Without faith there can be no hope…without faith hope is merely wishful thinking. This is why I feel so sad for atheists: Without hope, is life really worth living? I think not.


Anonymous said...

Here's my snappy comeback, Bob--heck, no! You seem genuinely happy to be here in the Brewster area, kiting around in those grand old Sikorskys, making our cherries just a little drier. I've read the blooger you refer to (I think), and she is indeed a wonderful photographer. But as far as being here? She doesn't seem to like it much.

I have a question. The last couple of years have been deadly for you guys, especially farther south in Wenatchee, where there are power lines everywhere. It takes we growers' breath away, thinking of your lot's courage and skill, and the dangers of precision flying. So my question is this: are you guys REALLY flying with the passenger pilot sticking his head out the window, as I saw the other morning?!? Avoiding wind machines, power lines and trees is terrifying, so I wouldn't be surprised!

I went down to a neighbor's orchard three days ago, to watch that wonderful old S-55 thunder above the trees. And I took some lousy pictures. But then, I notice the right-hand side window open, and a guy or gal LEANING OUT, motioning to the pilot! This was up Jack Wells Rd., above Chief Joe.


Michael Morris said...

Bob, I know what you mean. Maybe she will see the light. None of this means anything without God.

Craig said...

God brings me peace to my sometimes crazy world.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Michael and Craig, I say to you both: EXACTLY!

My belief in God also gives me peace, because I know that there is something bigger. We WERE created; this world didn't...just...happen. Why? We do not know. We don't NEED to know.

Understanding this...knowing that we were deliberately created, and that the Creator is with me (or is it I am with Him?) means that there are forces in the universe which I can tap into. This is not something I've imagined or made up, and it is not illusory.

Where does our ability to love come from? I believe that it comes from God. God loves ME, and in that way I can love others. Other species exhibit this trait, but only humans can act on it at will...AND react to it. You may love your dog or cat or pet turtle, but does the animal recognize this love as such? Probably not.

It is love that "proves" to me that there is a God...one of the things, anyway. Someone may deny this, but I do not mind taking as an article of faith that God is love.

Anonymous said...

Who IS this broad...I'd love to read her stuff.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Contrary to popular belief, I do not enjoy trashing other people in this blog. I purposely did not mention this woman or her blog by name. What I wrote about her was bad enough and while I stand by my words, I feel badly for have written them.

I have a couple of bloggers who I do recommend - their blogs are listed on the right-hand side of my page at the top. Their posts are always positive and uplifting, and even though I've only met a couple of them in real life, they all are warm and happy people who love life, love the other people in it and love writing about it. But I do not recommend every blog I read (and I read more than more than those listed above), because some of the writers are quite loony.

There is one male helicopter pilot blogger I read who evidently really, really believes that a new American revolution is coming. Blood in the streets and all that...armed insurrection...people coming to take your stuff by force and by God, you'd better be ready with YOUR guns (and of course, he's got an arsenal). He's pretty "out there" even by modern standards for political radicals. And he has a cadre of ass-kissing sycophants who follow his blog and agree with his every word. To be honest, it's kind of scary to know there are people like this among us - "us" being the more...I don't know...SANE AND RATIONAL people on the planet?

The woman blogger I referred to in this post is not someone I'd like to know in real life. As I said, she seems unhappy, always having a hard time. And I do not make this assessment on the basis of one or two posts. I've been reading her blog for a couple of years now, hoping to eventually get something of value from her posts...like how much she loves flying or riding motorcycles or whatever. But when she's not complaining about this or that, even her flying stories do not convey the passion, the spectacle and the grandeur that many of us experience and enjoy immensely. It's sad, really.

Having said all that, I did leave enough clues in the post that a little Googling can ferret her out if one is so inclined.

But I hope one is not.

Debby said...

I think that you're being too hard on the poor godless egomaniac. She thought she was wrong once, but she'd made a mistake.

Frank Murphy said...

If I had the anatomy of a women and looked like a man, I probably would be angry all the time and wouldn't believe in God either....

You see alot of these types in aviation. They were sucessful maybe outside of aviation or maybe they feel the need to show dominace in the pathetic earth bound world they work in and Aviation seems to be the answer for most of these ego craving psychopath types. I do tend to notice that those on this planet that don't believe in God and go out of their way to make a point of it, tend to be pretty angry, hate filled people. Some how they rationalize in their mind that knowing the answer to everything brings them into some kind of social higher archy and tends to lead to discrimination against those they believe are not swimming in the pool of the righteous such as themselves. They don't have an answer for creation or can't google an answer, therefore it's a fairy tail. They shutter at the fact there is no proven answer as to what causes gravity. They're absent from the question why is there an unaccounted for mass in the human body. It's ashame when you come in contact with these types of humans in aviation. I find the pilots that usually feel the need to boast about their self on what fantastic pilots they are and when they meet someone for the first time, the first thing out of their mouth is "I'm a pilot". They wear the hats and the t-shirts and feel that the observations and findings they've made about aviation are new ideas that haven't been looked into before. Somehow the aviation community should be .... dare I use the word BLESSED that they have left their meaningful jobs in the private non-aviation sector to enlighten us all. For these people including the "woman?" you talk about in your blog, all I have to say is this:

It's nice to be smart, but it's smarter to be nice.