My husband has flown for Delta Air Lines for 13 years, and he also flies part time for the Air National Guard. So we say his airline job is his day job. And the military gig is extra, to supplement that. He's a first officer and feels he is going to stay in a holding pattern for two decades with that. His seniority number magically seems to stay the same over time.
We are very grateful for his job, but we never really got to experience the good ol' days of the airlines that we keep hearing about. My husband got hired right before the September 11 terrorist attacks schwacked the airlines. His check ride was September 12. He was a goner shortly thereafter but he's back now. We've been furloughed once and had our pay cut at least three times. The military job is so we'll have a retirement, now that the pension is gone.
We airline wives enjoy many benefits. One, those white polyester shirts our guys wear never have to be ironed. Two, our young children think every airplane that flies over the house is daddy. And three, people like hearing our husbands' greeting on the answering machine because they sound like an airline pilot.
"Thank you forrrrrrrr....
Calling our family today?
We hope you'll,
Enjoy the rest of your day."
Is what they sound like. Which is fun.
But our entire Western civilization is built upon the concept of working Monday through Friday during respectable daylight hours. For us airline pilot wives, every week is different. Every month is different. Our husbands come and go, sometimes at the last minute when we've just made their favorite meal and the Bat Phone rings. When our husbands sit reserve, we sit reserve. When our husbands are on short call, we're on short call. We're carrying the load many evenings when, for the rest of the world, activities and sports for children are a two-parent operation.
We can't say, "Wait till your father comes home," when the children are acting up, because they'd be waiting three days. We take out the trash, put the children to bed at night, have no one to hand the crying baby off to, and are alone in our beds at night. While our husbands are on a 36 hour layover to Paris. Like many of you, our family doesn't know yet whether my husband will be off on Christmas day.
Lest I begin to make us all sound diva whiny, I bring up all of this because it means that we airline pilot wives can pride ourselves in having some strong character. We're forced to be a big girl when our men are away. We're not just reading the words in the Bible, we're actually doing them. We have to rely on God because we can't rely on our husbands day to day when they're away on a trip. We airline pilot's wives are champions in gratefulness and forgiveness. And flexibility and graciousness are sub-categories of both of those.
There's a passage in the Bible that made me think of you this morning. Proverbs 31 describes the ultimate God-honoring woman who can inspire all of us. This Proverbs 31 chick is hard working, honorable, strong, not afraid, and virtuous. The verse that made me think of you the most today is verse 23 where it says, "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land." That's talking about where the coolest Bible time cats used to loiter and talk about important things, and it was a place of high honor. It was the entrance to the city. Goofy doofus husbands with loser wives were not chillin' with the elders at the gate.
Today I'm thinking of your husband at his gate, maybe gate B26 at Hartsfield airport. An airline pilot's wife can know that she is a powerful reflection on her man, she is such a strong anchor to support him, he needs her so much to remain faithful and diligent as a loving wife, relying on Christ for her inspiration and motivation. As she continues to be this caliber of classy wife for him, he'll be known at the gates as a man to be admired.