I like flying. From the moment I step out onto the sidewalk where the recorded speakerphone lady barks at you to move your car, to the fluid motion of people filing their way to or from just about everywhere. I tolerate the dirty looks from security guards, and I take the escalator towards my gate. Some people hate the process of waiting in line, finding out where they are meant to go, waiting for their flight and sitting next to someone with a possible personal hygiene problem.
Not me. Something about this kind of chaos fills me with wonder and joy. There are endless possibilities for unforgettable moments in an airport. People you meet in the coffee shop, people you talk to along the way. People from places you’ve never even heard of before, or places you always wished you could go. It seems like nothing is impossible in an airport-nothing in your life that can’t be changed for the better.
Think about it. What’s more ridiculous sounding than a 400,000lb metal machine propelling itself through the air with 250 people in it?
But the thing I like most of all is that moment when the airplane lifts off the ground and I feel that blanket of air boost me off the ground. There was a time not too distant in our past when the idea of flying through the air still sounded like science fiction. I think of the early dreamers who started with diagrams, made models, tried and failed several times as the centuries passed. It is amazing to me to read about the early pilots who had the courage to launch themselves into the sky with their handmade balloons and gliders. A person with that kind of gall would be considered irresponsible or crazy today-and they probably were back in their time as well.
A certain kind of paradox hits me when I’m up in the air looking down at what appears to be a sleepy and magical world. It hits me that everything I worry and stress about, all my thoughts and desires are only a speck far away on the ground. That we are all just doing the best that we can to get on in life, but that in the end, none of our efforts and stresses really matter. On the other hand, somebody following their dream was a part of why I am able to have this experience right now.
I think that a lot of the people who tried their hardest and failed at creating the first airplane probably thought that their life was a failure. They never reaped the rewards of their efforts-much like many of the great thinkers, philosophers, inventors, artists…
So what is success? Is it having lots of money, lots of respect, everybody wanting you? Who has impacted your life more? The person who aimed at the sky and missed, or the person who aimed at the ground and reached it? We try to be the person who wins on the ground, but we are truly inspired by the brave soul who aims for the sky.
Is there something in life you feel called to do? Something that sounds ridiculous and wonderful at the same time-something you know would make the world a better place? Are you spending all your time staring at the ground, trying to forget about the sky? Is that what you really want for your life?
Take courage if you aim for the sky and miss. You indeed may never see the results of your efforts come to fruition, but the act of following your heart will impact the world in ways you can’t imagine.