I was sitting on the run-up pad in my plane going through my checklist. Free movement of my ailerons and rudder, check. All circuit breakers working, check. Altimeter set, check. Magnetos, check. Then I looked at my vacuum reading. It was showing zero pressure. I waited, hoping the engine just needed more time to warm up. It didn’t move. I ran through the rest of my checklist. Everything checked out except the vacuum pump.
I sighed. I wouldn’t be flying that day.
I let the controllers in the tower know, and I taxied back to the ramp. Technically I could have flown according to the essential equipment list, but I risked my cabin filling with carbon monoxide if I had a serious problem. There was no way of knowing. I will fly anything with wings and an engine, but even I don’t want to be thousands of feet in the air in a plane that isn’t in perfect structural integrity.
Integrity is a hot topic in our world today. Sometimes talked about in a moralistic frame, integrity better understood means that you are living in alignment with your values, in working order with how you are designed.
Many of us are waking up to a sense that the way we were working in the world before this pandemic wasn’t in alignment with how we are best designed. We are not designed to place profit over people. We are not designed to pollute our planet. We are not designed to discriminate against each other. We are not designed to harm each other.
Perhaps everything in our world seems to be falling apart because the world we built together lacked the integrity needed to take us forward. Perhaps we are being realigned, stripped down to the core of our design so that we can build a society more inclusive of all. We built a world that worked for some at the expense of others. That’s not how God designed us.
So, we taxi back to the hanger of our homes, schools and places of work to look closely under the hood at what has gone wrong. We look at our racism, our power dynamics, our laws, our assumptions, our pain, our ignorance, our hope, our desires…our deepest and truest values. We muster the courage to see what is broken and the humility to begin the fixes.
We know at the core of us – what is true in our design – is that we were built to fly in formation, together.