Frisbees and Bushes
Ray Sammons, 2012
In 1993 Stacy, our youngest son, and I started flying ultralight aircraft. We took some test flights and purchased an ultralight trike. An ultralight trike has a portable hang-glider wing and the motor and wheels hang under the wing, the trike fit on our trailer and we could take it anywhere.
Stacy and I had our private licenses and the cross over to flying an ultralight trike required some instruction. In a fixed wing aircraft you pull back to go up, in a trike, you pull back to go down! It required eight hours of instructions to get our auto-reflexes to operate in reverse.
One day the instructor and I were practicing landings in a dry riverbed. On our first landing I heard the instructor in my head phones, “Watch out for those bushes.” My eyes and mind fixated on “those bushes”. As we continued toward the landing I heard, “Don’t land on the bushes!” I didn’t land on the bushes, not really, only the outside third of the right wing zipped through the bushes. The instructor asked for a full stop landing!
We got out, and I heard some choice words about where to land. The instructor reached into the trike and pulled out a yellow Frisbee. Frisbee in hand he walked to a clear area, clear of bushes, and dropped the Frisbee. He walked back to the trike and said, “Let’s go.”
The trike motor whined, the wind pressed my face, the wing filled with air, and we lifted off, oh the joys of flying ultralights!
“Let’s make another landing!” burst into my ears. We climbed 30 feet, made a climbing left turn, another climbing turn and continued climbing down wind for the next landing.
“This time, land on the yellow Frisbee!” he was not happy with my first attempt.
For the next 20 minutes we made touch-and-go landings in that riverbed and on that yellow Frisbee, and I never came close to one of “those bushes.”
That yellow Frisbee has been an important lesson for me – describe what you want, not what you don’t want! Despite our best efforts at multitasking, we can only have one idea in our minds at a time. Tell employees, kids, spouses, sales clerks, yourself, everyone, what you want, describe the yellow Frisbee.
This lesson applies to preaching also
Recently, I sat in the pew listening to a preacher extolling the characteristics of a mature Christian, one of which was ‘Gratitude’. He introduced the need to be grateful and then launched into ‘8 barriers to gratitude’. I’m sure that somewhere under some subheading he mentioned gratefulness, but his main points and the bullets in my notes are all about bushes! At the end of my notes is a line, “How about eight ways to be grateful?”
Many pastors preach about ignoring Christian bushes, while the members desire encouragements to land on yellow Frisbees!
I must double my efforts to focus on yellow Frisbees and refrain from describing “those bushes.”