The joy (and fear) of flying

April 29, 2016

It was the other day, since my family’s recent return to Canada, and I was on the massage table (I’ve had a bad back for 30 years), and we were talking about her husband.

He has MS and it isn’t getting any better and soon, with the help of some friends, she and he and their kids will be on their way to California for one of those hope-beyond-hope sort of treatments that they do hope will at least help reduce some of his worsening symptoms.

He, her husband, can’t go on the plane because of his condition, and that means a very long drive for at least him and his driver, and not only this, but the kids are afraid are flying.

“Bring them over and we’ll talk to them,” I told her, because my kids have flown more than most luggage, and they can tell her kids all about the joy of it all: the movies and video games, Dad’s surprising conversations with whoever is beside him, and looking out the window at the most surprising moment to see the rest of the world and get a bit of perspective from the mad scurrying of it all.

They’re all trying to make the best of it, she said, and a visit to nearby Disneyland is in the works, but I could hear that the worry was there, along with the hope, and why wouldn’t it be?

So, yes, we’re back in Canada and we’ve gone through several airports, including Brussels, as we took the long way home from Africa. It will take some time to unpack it all. There was a working holiday in the UK, this after some time in Greece, home of 50,000 refugees who don’t know their next move, something of which I will soon share more.

It was when I mentioned the refugees, how I met one, a youth somewhere between boyhood and manhood, when I told her some of his horrible story, that she said, “So, do you ever feel that it’s dangerous to go to all these places?”

It’s the never-ending question, of course, and the answer is yes, I suppose, but so is it dangerous to get out of bed every day and leave your front door and cross the street, depending, of course, on what sort of street it might be with what sort of traffic.

(In Uganda, it’s the traffic that’s the biggest danger, really, along with health risks, (like malaria – I’ve had it three times) that are dangers more than terrorism, but this, generally, is not what people think about when asking about danger and my family’s off-beat travels.)

I said something along this line, and she agreed, yes, and I got the feeling that she thought I was brave or something. But what I didn’t say is that I feel the same way toward her and her husband and her children, that whatever they may or may not fear about flying, to get up every day and face something like MS – to face it together, as family, knowing the difficult future in store – well, that is courage.


Travelling through the Brussels airport was an interesting time, yes, that Brussels airport where 32 lives were recently taken by terrorists, and this is what I had meant to just write about.  I’d still love to share this piece, if you missed it, (how could you?) in the Spectator last week.

But since this is so long already, this particular re-post from Brussels will have to wait to next time.

Share this post

April 29, 2016 • Posted in
Contact Thomas at [email protected]


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top