I think God has used this hobby to bless me throughout my life - how about you??? - RC Groups
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Dec 16, 2001, 07:50 AM
Jim in Santee
jshelton's Avatar

I think God has used this hobby to bless me throughout my life - how about you???

I first got into this hobby during the ages of 11-15 years old. At the time I was in an environment where most of my friends were getting into very destructive activities such as drugs and alcohol. While 2 of my brothers were constantly out at all hours of the night getting into trouble with the law, my other brother and I were in our room building model airplanes. I think it was a lifeline for us that our peers didn't have.

I was out of the hobby for many years up until a few months ago. Over the last 8 years I have been dealing with a devastating divorce followed by over 5 years of chronic illness. I'm a very positive person, but 5 years of fighting chronic illness (hypothyroidism and just recently diagnosed hypopituitarism) can really drag a person down.

When I returned to the hobby, this last summer - I was a very sick man but I somehow found enough energy to assemble an ARF (Aspire) and return to flying (part of my self-prescribed therapy!!!). Although my body was hurting, you wouldn't know it by the big kid-like grin I had when I showed up at the flying field with my beautiful new sailplane!

I was concerned if I could still fly after all of those years, but the first flight was very successful! Although my stock Aspire left a lot to be desired in climb performance, I still managed to get some great flights out of it. One of the club members who helped me out commented on my second flight "I can tell you're an old glider pilot -- you 'll be fine!" That was such a reassuring and validating (and much needed!) complement!

That night I went home and actually shed tears of joy and victory. On the surface, it was just a grown man enjoying a hobby he always treasured as a kid. But in reality, it was so much more than that! For me, it was a huge sense of victory- over adversity, over the chronic and devastating illness that had diligently sought to extinguish the spark of life from me. A victory over the devastating divorce from a woman that never allowed this good man to be a kid (Yep! - she hated RC gliders!)

As I sat in my jacuzzi later that night listening to music , I felt tremendous joy as I repeatedly replayed those wondrous flights from earlier that day - reliving the long-lost joys of finding thermals and the magic of watching my beautiful sailplane touch down ever so gracefully. I felt so reassured that this "washed-up old fart" still had the skills to fly a sailplane. I kept saying to myself "I actually flew a radio-controlled sailplane today!!!" I'm sure that sounds like a trivial statement to many, but to me it meant so much.

Recently, I placed 2nd in our club's Speed 400 Electroglide sailplane competition. That was such a kick!

Since this summer I have kind of gone overboard. I have purchased several planes although illness has prevented me from building all of them. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find a specialist that finally figured out what the illness was that was causing so much trouble. I have a hypopituitary disorder which causes tremendous degradation in the thyroid, adrenal and testes glands. That pretty much explains the problems I've had for the last 5 years. I started hormone replacement therapy 2 weeks ago and I'm already feeling a huge improvement!!!

The main point I wanted to make is that I believe that my faith in God has been the only reason I've been able to make it through all of this and that I think our hobby is one that is blessed by God. Every time I fly, I marvel at the magic of flight. Before every flying session I say a prayer asking for God's blessing and protection of my planes. I let Him know how grateful I am to have the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful hobby!!! After a good day's flying, I say a prayer of gratitude that I'm able to have so much fun while so many people in this world do not enjoy our wonderful hobby!

I certainly respect that others on this website may not see things as a I do, but I am curious if others identify with my perspective. I get such TREMENDOUS JOY from experiencing the spiritual aspect of flying. For me, it adds so much to our wonderful hobby. It absoluteley makes me giddy!

Let me know your feedback. I suppose some people might even have questions about my perspective. I'd love to open up a discussion.

BTW -- I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!

Dec 16, 2001, 08:50 AM
Jim: that's a great story, good luck with your recovery.........gregg
Dec 16, 2001, 01:58 PM
Almost a Pilot
Mauilvr's Avatar
When I first saw the title of your thread, I'll have to admit to extreme skeptcism. However, after reading your post, I'm touched by the battles you've fought through. I'm sure that the last 5 years have been frustrating but you're alive and kicking. Congratulations!
I know flying sailplanes more than any other aspects of RC has given me an appreciation of nature and the amazing world we live in. Even after all these years I'm still fascinated by silent flight.
We all have much to feel blessed about. Sometimes it's very easy to lose sight of that.
Good luck and have a great Holiday Season.
Dec 16, 2001, 02:38 PM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar

Although I'm a bit skeptical about 'divine guidance', I certainly do believe in your personal fortitude and stoicism! There's many of us would cave-in under such circumstances.

More power to you Jim.

Dec 16, 2001, 10:00 PM
Mike Swan
Here's to a speedy recovery and a Merry Christmas.
Dec 17, 2001, 01:07 AM
Our Daddy and Heli Junkie
Fred Bronk's Avatar
Jim, that is great! There are so many good people in this hobby and it just seems to grow! Welcome back!

Not the same situation as you, but I use a saying when my girlfriend says I am addicted to this hobby and spend to much.

"I don't stay out late and drink, do drugs or chase women."

Merry Christmas!!!!!!
Dec 17, 2001, 09:34 AM
Speed Demon
GregG's Avatar
Thanks Jim, you've put it in a way that I think many can certainly understand. I'll be thinking about my flying a little differently now that I've read your post. Welcome back to this great hobby and thanks for the inspiration!
Dec 18, 2001, 03:35 AM
Registered User
markdam's Avatar

A resounding YES

ive always felt the spiritual connecttion. watching pelicans and gulls growing up in southern cal fishing the coast flying gliders watching learn totally facinated with ANY form of flight.
I believe we are only given as much as we can handle even if it seems like more than we can handle. If playing tiddlywinks makes you smile and feel less pain and more joy then by all means DO IT!!!!!