It could be called God’s airbrush in nature. The scaly textured skin of a tree is covered up and smoothed out to blemish-free spheres when a filter of fog hides imperfections. Gritty cities are buried in a billowy soft cloud of white. People are mere living silhouettes.
Driving home tonight a thick fog set itself upon our sleepy suburban town. The dense water in the air magnified all light, yet stupefied any vision. It felt as though it was a heavenly place. Soft as feathers. Glowing from an unknown source of light. Warm. Eerily quiet, yet completely peaceful.
Even God enjoys looking at things differently sometimes it seems.
I saw it all from a new perspective tonight too.
When I look at stuff I get so caught up in the details and forget the overall beauty of life. Fog opens my eyes, letting me see clearer.
Like gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe that provokingly tugs lightly at each step. Like a bandaid on a crusty wound invoking shrieks from each individual hair upon abrupt removal. Like dog hair to a lint roller absorbing billions of allergens. Like a controlling personality smothering another’s ambitions. Like wet hair plastered to a furrowed brow in a spring downpour. Like a dog digging up its buried rotting treasure.
Like a toddler gripping their solace: a tattered bit of blanket that had wrapped them as an infant. Like a dryer sheet staticly stuck to a freshly tumbled cotton pant leg. Like a human chain formed between explorers crawling through a pitch black cave.
Like a bewildered sinner hanging on each whispered word from their Savior. Like a hopeful lover rereading every written phrase from their distant significant other. Like a married couple who realize they only have each other when life throws them curveballs. Like a wrinkled husband completely depending on his equally wrinkled wife of 61 years.
"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Heb13.5
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." Eccl4.9-12
Clinging is a love/hate phenomenon—driven by a core need for camaraderie.
People blur past. All dimensions, all colors, all shapes. The combination of a thousand conversations creates a buzz that sounds like frantic worker bees trying to satisfying their insatiable, demanding queen: flight schedules. Everyone is in a rush. Some have mascara bled by tears. Some people have smiles, enthusiastic about the unknown future. The overhead speaker interrupts my wanderlust thoughts as a bald-headed man speaks crisply into the bottom portion of a telephone he holds upside down. “Now boarding Group A 1-30.” I step toward the fast-forming line, flaunting the A24 boarding card in my hand as I look past the B and C class paupers sitting around me waiting to get on the Southwest flight. Group A: the land of window or aisle seats and overhead room. The closest thing to "first class" on Southwest.
Picking a seat on the plane is a chess match. The obligatory screaming toddler on row 2 clears out a good 7 seats around the disaster zone. I head toward the back. A thin man takes the middle seat of the coveted, yet empty exit row; a dastardly and abominable move considering how selfish you must be to think you deserve an entire exit row to yourself. I decide to sit about 1/3 of the way back, close enough to be one of the first guys to get drinks and snacks when the flight attendants dish out midflight exotic delicacies. After situating myself, the psychological game begins. Do you make eye contact with the people looking for seats? Do you stretch your legs out and try to look larger than life? Do you place your bag on the seat next to you and feign some contagious disease? It’s quite interesting to see the strategies people use to avoid having the 300 lb man sit in the accursed middle seat next to you. On this particular flight I felt my odds were pretty good at having a whole row to myself, so I spread myself out over a couple seats making it look as uninviting as possible.
After everyone boarded, I triumphantly sit myself across the three seats I captured…much like a hunter sitting atop his fresh kill. The flight attendants begin their inanimate talent show, instructing me to do a bunch of things that I probably won’t be doing if my airplane explodes and is plunging towards an icy river. The cockpit beeps, the engines squeal, and stare out that window, pretending I’m driving a car, embracing the intense feeling of high-octane acceleration that makes any masculine male shiver in delight during take off.
The cabin lights turn off and I lay down on my trinity of seats. Cold leather presses against my cheek as I lean my head against the ridiculously upright seat back. My thoughts wander to the many grotesque things that have touched this seat before. Sweats, stinks, diseases….while all vile things enter my mind, I move on to better thoughts—like fluffy clouds with pudgy naked cupids, or the conversation taking place in the row behind me.
Eavesdropping is one of the coolest things about travel. You learn so much about people you will never see again. I survey the seats around me. In front is a really tall guy with Bose headphones, his head flopped back like a dead fish, sucking wind like an air dryer. He fell asleep before the wheels left the ground. Two seats over there is a young girl crouched over bit of mindless reading material, her body language shows that she is lost in some other world, probably being swept up into the arms of some sweaty, shirtless brawny knight on a white steed in a faraway land. The row across had a couple sitting together. They were madly in love, because they laughed and giggled at very unfunny things and kept grabbing each other’s ears. The person behind me was carrying on a very vibrant conversation about her ex-husband and why they got divorced. Apparently he lost his job after 21 years of marriage and never recovered his sanity. She left him because he was “lazy.”
After what seemed like an eternity my stomach reminded me that the flight attendants would soon be serving complimentary beverages. It amazes me how many people order Bloody Mary drink mix or tomato juice. It must be a thing from the 90s. Who drinks tomato juice anymore? Yet on the airplane, they serve it like it’s a normal commodity: just as popular as Pepsi or Sprite. My 0.02 oz bag of salted peanuts is downed in one bite. Sometimes when you’re nice to the flight attendant they generously give you MULTIPLE bags of peanuts. On long flights you get weightless, tasteless Nabisco crackers shaped like little airplanes. I enjoy flying them into my mouth one by one and then crunching them mercilessly between my teeth.
The hardened rubber armrest poking into the middle of my back prevents me from really enjoying complete relaxation. Headphones fill my ears with harmonious notes, allowing me an oasis to escape from the whir of the jet engines. I think about the lives around me. So many interesting people. There isn’t a single person who isn’t intriguing. Whether they’re 5, 15, or 50, they all have had a thousand things happen to them that is interesting and that I could learn from.
God has made every person unique, and every person I see fits into His sovereign plan for my life, contributing to my education and experience. I have learned so much from eavesdropping. I have witnessed the potent love of newlyweds gazing silently into each other’s eyes. I’ve heard businessmen talk critically about their spouses to deer-eared emphatic female waifs sitting next to them on long flights. I’ve shared in the pain experienced as a Romeo says goodbye to someone their Juliet. I’ve watched as military members selflessly give of themselves, wearing a uniform that shows a level of patriotism I can’t imagine. The view airplanes give you is mesmerizing. You’re either a blinking dot in a huge sky, or a small speck on the patterned earth. It’s overwhelmingly simple.
On this flight I mainly let my mind drift off to another plane also flying at the same altitude as myself, yet hundreds of miles away. A Delta plane streaking across the sky, carrying the love of my life who I had said goodbye to only hours before. She has her own set of unique interesting people to interact with and eavesdrop on. What are they talking about? What is she thinking?
Now the pain of cabin pressure change fills my ears as we begin descent. I’ll never see these people again. And yet I know that they’re probably sitting and thinking the exact same thing as me on this entire flight.
As we exit the plane at our destination, I stop by the airport bathroom and glance at the imprinted texture the cool leather seat left on my face. I smile at the people I pass, friends from my flight who I never exchanged a word with.
If only I could really get to know every person I see….I look at their lives and realize how much they have to offer life….people are so interesting! A lot like tomato juice.
After a few months sabbatical from this dear old blog, I’ve decided to dust the cobwebs off and supply a few paragraphs of thought to its rusty panes.
"Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves." - Henry Ward Beecher
There was a satirical movie that came out a while ago that centered around a seemingly perfect family that moved into a very wealthy neighborhood in suburbia America. They drove the newest cars, wore the most fashionable clothes, and owned the most extravagant possessions. They lived the “perfect” American dream. Over time this family began to influence all the people around them, deceptively planting seeds of discontent and unrest in each household. As these wealthy people bought more and more possessions to keep up with the perfect family living amidst them, they stumbled upon nothing but utter hell and dissatisfaction. As soon as they would buy a new car, the “perfect” family would have something even newer and more extravagant. It turns out in the end that the “perfect family” was merely a group of people hired by a marketing company to sell these luxury items by flaunting them in their daily “life.” Unfortunately, the surrounding real families were affected by these ploys and ended in utter heartbreak. Some committed SUICIDE, some went through DIVORCE, and some reached BANKRUPTCY: simply because they never got all that they thought they deserved in life.
Flip the magnets to current America: where financial stability is a rare species amidst economic chaos. Government has become a maternal figure in millions of peoples lives, providing life-support to 1/6 of Americans. By planting such lies as “it is your RIGHT" and "you DESERVE this,” we have a massive portion of able-bodied people out of work and living off the backs of other hard-working citizens. Through using such divisive ploys as “racial nondiscrimination” or “gender neutrality” or “income brackets” people have been conditioned to feel like they’re owed something special, and it is up to the government to take care of them. This black-hole within themselves leads to a life of emptiness.
Two extremes. Both harsh realities in various forms.
I looked at my own post-vacation week (having come off ten days of relaxing bliss) and was deeply convicted at my utter distaste for life after experiencing such heaps of blessing. In my relationships, in my work, even during my devotions, an insatiable sucking came from within that overwhelmed me. Never before had I been so discontent. On the outside everything appeared to be dandy, yet inside my heart a tumultuous conflict took place. I looked at all my hands had done and created, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the people around me who seemingly have a better life. Maybe they appear to have a lot of money, some appear to have a fairytale-esk romantic relationship, others look like they love every moment of their thriving career, and some seemingly impact countless lives for Christ by reaching out through fruitful mission work. No matter who I looked at or what I was doing, I just couldn’t find peace.
Tonight I was reading Ephesians 5:1-5:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be THANKSGIVING. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
A convicting chill ran up my spine as I immediately saw how my pride blinded my perspective. Even now I see the glaring grossness of my offense. In a world full of growing well-fare, opulent luxury, subtle immorality, and nonstop entertainment, I will only find my complete satisfaction in Christ, daily strengthened through a grateful spirit.
I am so fortunate and blessed to have a Savior who kindly teaches me these important lessons week in and week out, sanctifying me through His grace. While others might have fortunes and happiness, I find so much contentment in the loving family I have, the adoring girlfriend I cherish, and the worthy employment currently given me. Anything less or more comes from Him: the supplier of my happiness and the source of my joy. Thank you, my Father.
This was sent to me by my Dad, the biggest cheerleader of my life, reminding me once again that everything I do is for a bigger purpose and should not be underestimated……
Three men are working on a construction site, doing exactly the same thing, about 25 yards apart. When asked what he was doing, the first man said, “Laying bricks.”
The second man, doing the same work, answered the question and said, “Putting up a wall.”
The third man, again doing the exact same job, said, “I’m building a great cathedral.”
It’s all about perspective.
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…" Zechariah 4:10