Vol 3, Num 10 :: 2004.05.07 — 2004.05.20
As we surge down the runway, I settle back against my seat, my insides wiggling with anticipation. The engines roar, the aircraft quivers with effort, and I wonder yet again if we’ll ever make it off the ground. And then we’re flying, this noisy crate, these strangers, and I. Magically, we are rising above the earth. Rows of houses, streets, and factories coast beneath us, the proud feats of humanity. Yet they quickly grow smaller and smaller, until they seem as insignificant as the pixels on my computer screen.
We nose into a cloud and are surrounded by misty whiteness, nothingness. Then, suddenly, we are in another world: the sky is clearer, bluer, ranging from the sparkling blue of an island lagoon to a blue that is midnight, near black. Below are the clouds’ rows of them sometimes, like God’s freshly furrowed fields. Sometimes they are mounds, towers which easily outperform the boxes of bricks and steel far below, sometimes misty-thin, making the distant ground ethereal and transient. Between God’s constantly changing puffs of water, I can glimpse the cities, still—so tiny now, so trivial in the whole of creation.
This floating above the clouds is my favorite part of flying. Here I feel as if I can glimpse things from God’s viewpoint, see a more complete picture of reality. I see whole cities; I take in the interactions of a thousand human souls in one glance as cars crawl about, flecks of humanity inch across streets. And from higher yet, larger and larger swaths of land fill my gaze: streams feeding into rivers, mountains leaning on one another, forests fuzzing the landscape. From this vantage point high above the earth, my sense of self-importance is put into perspective. Could it be that God looks down from above, past these glorious clouds, past the rivers, mountains, and forests, loving his creatures enough to focus in on each and every wiggling speck of humanity? And this is only a tiny portion of his creation; there are other planets, stars, galaxies. My mind is full as I try to ponder the power and the grace of a God like ours.
I’ve had this experience many times before, and yet each time it seems a new revelation. And so, at each landing, I step to the earth again with a renewed sense of wonder at creation and Creator, and I look forward to the next flight.
Discussion: In awe
What parts of nature cause you the deepest wonder at creation? Do you feel most at home indoors or outdoors?