Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flying home on a jet plane

flickr/by bcmom

I don't fly much. I can virtually count on one hand the round trip plane trips that I have taken in my life. I am actually rather scared of flying. But since I am now living 10 hours from my family, flying is something that I will be doing much more of.

I have discovered though, that after the shock of takeoff and the plane is coasting smoothly in the sky, I begin to suppress my anxieties and enjoy the experience. In many ways, flying is truly exhilarating. I remember a few months ago when I flew down to Nashville for my interview thinking about how one feels so alive when they are flying in an airplane, high above the clouds.
Yesterday I flew home to Pittsburgh from Nashville for Christmas. Once again, as the plane began gliding through the sky and I looked down at the sprawling landscapes and twinkling lights dotting the scene below, I experienced a similar sense of wonder.

In a way that is entirely unique to the thoughtful atmosphere that a solitary road trip provides, taking an airplane ride always seems to provoke a singular sense of reflection and introspection for me.

Last night I think I put my finger on why. Flying high above the houses and hills, trees and clouds, being able to see the earth beneath you for miles and miles gives you a superhuman perspective. Both literally and figuratively.

This is not a perspective that, unless you are a pilot or stewardess, you see on a daily basis. It is a perspective that evokes a sense of wonder and awe. In a mysterious way, it helps you to gain a more vivid sense of your place in the world. Seeing the expansive earth below me made me think about what a small part it is that I have in this universe; yet I have a totally singular part in this universe. Even more amazing, is the realization that amidst all of this vast and orchestrated creation, we were created by God to fulfill a specific role and to answer a specific call. It's marvelous.

In the midst of the metaphysical thoughts that looking out of your airplane window evokes, it also beckons one to put all of your current worries, problems, plans, and experiences in a larger perspective. In the perspective of the Eternal Creator.

Of course, it also makes you think of the heavens, feel closer to the heavens, and meditate on what heaven is like.

I think that also, it fills you with a sense of gratitude. About a half an hour before we landed in Pittsburgh, I reveled in the night scene outside my window. The billowy clouds beneath the plane looked like we were traveling above fluffy cotton candy. The sky above the clouds was hazy, and then turned into a light blue, which turned into a darker blue, leading the eye to gaze at the clear stars and the bright almost-full moon.

It looked like a scene from a storybook. But we were traveling in it. It was magnificant.

"The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:41

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