I am writing this on an airplane. Although that probably isn’t a surprise, the truth is I am flying a lot less this year than last and trying to make any flights I do take count. As those of you who travel a lot for work know, it is not a lot of fun, but there is one part of it I still love: looking out the window.
Do you remember the first time you flew and looked out an airplane window? Our daughters started flying before they were one. I think I was probably 20 before I flew for the first time. It was amazing to look down on the state I called home, and I remember how tiny my hometown looked compared to the big city I lived in by that time. It amazes me how populated the Northeast is, and how much more room there is in most of the rest of the country. I love the rugged landscapes of the West and the endless beaches of Florida. LaGuardia and SFO still make me a little nervous when landing.
Getting a new perspective on the world is invaluable, and travel does that in a myriad of ways. It puzzles me that not everyone loves to look out the window of planes and cars. I love to see horizons and remember that the world is more; to see other people doing their thing, going their way, living their lives. They remind me that my life is just one among many. I love looking at how people decorate and landscape. They love their nests in very different ways than I love mine. I love to see new buildings and road changes, to see trees and shrubs blooming or shedding their leaves because they remind me of life’s impermanence.
As I sit in the cramped window seat of an airplane, cruising somewhere along the Atlantic coast, trying to figure out what medium-size city is below us, I am keenly aware of one other reason I still find satisfaction in this moment: I’m not the pilot. Someone else is flying the plane, not me. For a little while, I’m not in charge or in control. I’m simply along for the ride, and that feels great. I get to look out the window … and, yes, write Liberating Word.
One of the great things about the view from up here is you can get some perspective about how small you really are. Self-importance is such an illusion, and it almost always leads us to abuse others in order to keep the illusion alive. No, God is NOT our co-pilot. If we have a lick of sense we will let God be the pilot of life and enjoy looking out the window, trusting that our destiny is in good hands and that those hands are not ours.
Rev. Michael Piazza