Charles E. Lindberg
& The Bears
"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne,
just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne" - Rev 3:24
Charles E. Lindberg’s solo flight across the Atlantic was fixed in my memory by the smell of cinnamon rolls. My mother had a few chickens and frequently would sell some eggs to several friends who had standing orders for them. On this particular day my mother had called me in and insisted that I clean up so I would be presentable when I delivered some eggs to the Bears. That almost sounds like the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". The Bears weren't really bears but were actually a couple that lived close by the grain elevator. Mr. Bear was the manager of the elevator and the house they lived in was convenient to his work.
As I delivered the eggs I was invited in and Mrs. Bear who had been baking bread and cinnamon rolls asked me to sit down and have a cinnamon roll. They were just out of the oven and the smell was irresistible. She had a radio playing, and that of itself was quite a novelty because they weren't owned by everyone at that time. At least we didn't have one yet! At that moment the program was interrupted, and the announcer came on with the report that Charles E. Lindberg had just successfully completed his solo crossing of the Atlantic and had landed in Paris, France. I was listening to history but was too young to comprehend the extent of this moment for the future. But the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls still reminds me of that event.
Years later I read Lindberg’s autobiography of his flight. He wrote of the building of the Spirit of St. Louis and the planning that went into fitting it out for the flight. Every single comfort feature was eliminated so that the equivalent weight in gasoline could be added. The plane was loaded to a dangerous overload state to provide enough gas for the perilous journey.
His story told of the dangerous and hazardous take-off and then the flight itself. Before the flight had even begun he had gone many hours without sleep, and because the plane had no guidance system except a compass he had to stay awake until he landed. His greatest problem beginning almost immediately was sleepiness. He recounted that only a few hours into the flight he was fighting to keep his eyes open.
After several perilous escapes when he found himself but a few feet above the waves, he started telling himself that the alternative to staying awake was death and failure.
I won't go into further details of that flight but would suggest to you that for us as Christians in our journey of life which we hope will end in heaven, there are many perils just as there were for Lindberg.
We are constantly fighting the sleep that wants to overtake us in our flight of service, our chores of obedience, and our love for people. We bow our head and close our eyes to the needs about us and say it is now the turn for someone else.
But, we have not yet landed, we have not finished or completed our journey. We have not arrived at our destination – Heaven. I am so sleepy! But, there is no alternative for us but to stay awake and keep at the task. The alternative is death and failure.
And to this day, the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls reminds me of Lindberg and the heavenly journey that I am on. “Lord, keep me awake to the heavenly possibilities so upon my arrival in heaven it may be to the applause of the crowd of heaven awaiting .
To my earthly one for this reminder
To my heavenly one who keeps me awake !