Write the “Impossible Thing”

Five-year old pilot surfs the airwaves…

By Susan Deborah Schiller

One of my father’s greatest gifts to me was to invite me into his every day life, showing me that life is without limits and that even the “impossible” really means i’m-possible. With Papa God all things are possible.

Today I’ll share a story of when I first began to learn how to believe in doing “impossible” things from the archives of 1966, and I hope it will spark an idea for your next “adventure story” – a time when you did something “impossible” and you learned something from it. Who were you with? What were you doing? When? Describe the environment so that someone reading your story 100 years from now can grasp what it was like in the “olden days”. 🙂


Eying the massive dashboard full of complex electronics, my little fists clutched the steering control, as the altimeter needle quivered back and forth. My knuckles, clutched to the steering column, were white. It was so intense that to this day I can still see the compass dial of the King Air and my father’s voice saying, “Susie, maintain your altitude. Keep the needle steady.”

Glancing to my left, I could see that Dad was completely disengaged from the controls and focusing on my puny efforts to keep the plane at the proper altitude and direction. At that moment, I realized what a tough job piloting an airplane is!

There were two buttons on the top of my control bars, but I dared not touch them. The cockpit was so noisy I remained silent and did not ask for help. With every ounce of muscle power and my mental exertion totally taxed, I forced the plane to surf the air waves over our little town in Michigan.

To this day, I am amazed Dad didn’t tell me about the power buttons! I could have avoided all the muscular strain by simply depressing the right or left buttons to keep the plane on course. But I was too afraid to push any button  – I didn’t know what would happen!

I was scared to death the plane was going to go down if I didn’t keep up my extreme effort. Finally, after numerous course corrections, I motioned to my Dad that it would be a great idea for him to take over flying the plane! With a massive sigh of relief and very sore arm muscles, I relaxed into the co-pilot’s chair and enjoyed the ride for the rest of the flight!

Have you ever tackled a project that seemed WAY too BIG for you?

Writing your life story might seem like that “impossible” thing. It’s in the writing, itself, that we begin to understand lessons that we would have completely missed if we had not stopped to look, listen, and share.

Lessons are given to us at certain points in our lives to equip us for greater opportunities up ahead of us.

As I was writing this memory, it began to dawn on me how valuable this day in my dad’s cockpit was and how it would plant seeds into my mindset… seeds of, “You can do anything you set your mind to do.” “Nothing is too hard, if you have a good teacher.”

Later, at age 16, a Christmas gift from my dad was student pilot’s lessons and I had my first (and only) solo flight at age 17. Although I never did anything with my student pilot license, I did tackle some very big projects later in life, including operating huge Caterpillar machinery, running a screen plant, and supervising a hazmat site during an emergency period when the primary supervisor had become injured, and co-managing a ranch.

Many times I have discovered life is so much harder when we sit white-knuckled at the controls. Our Father in heaven must be awfully patient with us, much like my Dad was as he calmly watched me struggle to maintain correct altitude and direction.

All I had to do was ask for help and he would have gladly shown me how to use the power buttons. He wanted me to learn and was wise enough to let me do it myself and patient enough to see if I would ask for help.

If we were to become still and quiet ourselves every day, that voice of our Father would show us the power buttons and remove the strain and release the struggle from our lives!

All we have to do is ask 🙂

Sometimes we don’t know what we are learning when we go through an experience, but when we stop to pick it up, dust it off, and pull it out of our treasure chest of life experiences, it’s then that we discover the priceless pearl hidden within the ordinary oyster.

It doesn’t have to be an artistic masterpiece. Your memories and stories don’t need to be professionally written. Just be yourself. Tell your story in your own voice.

It can always be transcribed or written down by someone else at a later date. Don’t so easily discard your very own treasure chest – you have precious gems in there! They may be a little dusty or buried beneath the surface… but go ahead, take a first step, and share your story!

Your writing prompt for today is to write the “I’m-possible thing”. Write about something really hard, or nearly impossible, that you did. Incorporate lessons learned, beliefs, and values! One of my “impossible stories” is written here.

You can be anonymous. You can write privately. Or you can hit the publish button. The best treasures are unearthed in the act of writing, whether it’s published or not!

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan’s upcoming, interactive memoir, “On the Way Home,” tells the story of how she came to be known as “the most abused woman” her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.

Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2016 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lily November 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Wow! So glad you’re sharing these stories with us. You have a true talent for storytelling! I’m inspired to try to remember some of my old stories from my travelling days. 🙂



Susan McKenzie November 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I believe the art of storytelling is making a come back, rightfully so…. and I hope you will return and share some of your stories, Lily… I look forward to it!


Victoria Gazeley November 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm

How brilliant of your father to let you work hard, feel the ‘burn’, so to speak, and learn you could do it all yourself. It’s so easy as parents to want our children avoid pain, but the benefits of events like the ones you experienced are life-long. I love your comments about running big machinery – that’s been something I’ve wanted to learn to do for so long! I’ve managed a few ‘lessons’, but would love to learn more. Haven’t a clue why… but nice to know other women share that skillset! :o)


Susan McKenzie November 22, 2010 at 8:59 pm

It’s all in the teacher…. my husband was a master and had no fear at all, so because he was fearless, it was conveyed to me. Naivete and all that – I hope you find a good teacher – that’s the real secret!


Anonymous November 22, 2010 at 3:15 am

I completely agree that life is our classroom…with each and every experience a lesson and most often those we encounter are the teachers. I love this perception of life because it helps us to appreciate even those times that are trying and uncomfortable…knowing that in time the gold will be revealed. You are so right, we must honor our treasure chest of memories because they hold what has made us who we are! Brilliant article!


Rachelle November 21, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Wow! what a story, Susan!


Susan McKenzie January 22, 2011 at 3:05 am

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Rachelle 🙂


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