Over the loudspeaker of the plane came the captain’s voice: “We are about 20 minutes away from the airport, however we just got word from air traffic control that the weather just got increasingly worse. Visibility is down to about 1/4 mile and we may have to divert to another surrounding airport.” Sighs and groans filled the cabin as a bumpy flight just got worse.
Typically if you fly with me, stuff like that just happens. Seems like a minor issue, the pilot not being able to see the runway, yes? Well, it certainly got me thinking… His next words were even funnier to me… “We are going to do all we can to land this thing here. Thankfully they have long runways. Hope to talk to you when we are back on the ground.”
I laughed… out loud actually, while the guy next to me was stressing. I thought it was funny. And reminded myself this pilot does this for a living. If he couldn’t see, he wouldn’t land us here. And then I started thinking about how often I have changed direction when I didn’t see clearly, or when things just seemed too cloudy to “land.”
Life can be funny that way. We start to see limitations where there once were none. We find reasons to doubt or to think that maybe what we thought existed really doesn’t. Have you ever had a life changing moment? Where you all of a sudden realized that you were doing it all wrong? Funny, I have had many, and will continue to have them for as long as I am on this earth. As soon as we stop being able to see, things change. As soon as we lose sight of our reason, our strength, and sometimes even our weaknesses, we find that things aren’t the same as they used to be. So we start to feel like we can’t do it anymore, or we second guess even what we were doing in the first place.
I want to share a story with you that always sticks with me. It’s called “The Window…
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
When we don’t let the clouds overwhelm what we see that is right in front of us, we often find ways to see further. Don’t take your “sight” for granted… whatever you may see is a blessing.
Our plane safely landed last Friday. Without much turbulence as a matter of fact. And although it’s great to be prepared, don’t spend all your time worrying about what may happen.
You’ll miss the view.