Fifty years ago last week, an incredible journey successfully concluded on an airport runway in Columbus. Jerrie Mock had just completed a 22,800 mile trek in her Cessna 180 Skywagon, affectionately nicknamed Three Eight Charlie. She was the first woman to fly solo around the world.
My family and I were at the airport when she landed, along with a few thousand other eager fans, including Mrs. John Glenn, Mrs. Scott Carpenter, the governor and other dignitaries. It was a big deal for women, aviation and a testament to the human spirit.
The triumph of Mock's 29 day journey is owed in large part to her courage, determination and know-how along with her methodical preparations. She knew what it took to succeed and for her dream of flying around the world to flourish.
"If you want to do it, find out all the issues, study, and if it's what you really want, if it is, do it," says Mock in a recent interview with CarolAnn Garratt. Sounds like good advice for fulfilling life's goals. She goes on to note, however, "You may have misconceptions about what it is."
That's a good point.
Misconceptions (ours or others') are barriers to achievement. False estimations and unhealthy liabilities like prejudice and bias can get the better of us and the events we are a part of, stagnating discovery and contorting our best intentions. It happens in many walks of life including caring for our health. How often are we persuaded through news reports or advertising to eat a certain food or take a specific supplement for our health, only to eventually learn that the suggestions were not sound, and health compromised?
There is a simple verity quoted in the Book of John, a potent certainty that addresses the inaccurate conceptions we are susceptible to: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." I see this as a beautiful promise of the constant availability of God's wisdom and the resulting freedom it brings to human situations.
Some things might seem out of our control.
Mock had to deal with rough weather, equipment issues and exhaustion during her flight. She also ran up against gender intolerance and recounts in her own memoirs landing in a country where women weren't even allowed to drive cars, let alone planes.
While some complications are of our own making. Mock mistakenly landed at a secret military installation while in the Middle East and was interrogated at length before being allowed to leave. Her fearless response in the face of these trials are good examples of a mindful calmness, not surrendering control of thought to personal misgivings or others' anxieties.
"We have nothing to fear when love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven," Mary Baker Eddy once wrote. Responding to life's events with compassion and understanding can bring healing.
Life just has more clarity when we hold the controls of our own thinking and attitudes, rather than relinquishing them to popular thought-fads and dogma. Truth is always operating. The thoroughness of our mental prep work opens the way for success.
Mock suggests, "The airplane works the same whether it's a man or a woman, as long as your legs are long enough to reach the pedals." It seems to me that truth operates that way too - as long as we are willing to engage it.
(Salt is a writer and blogger covering health, spirituality and thought. He is a Christian Science practitioner.)