Last Thursday night, I went to Sydney for work. Then on Friday night, I went to Adelaide for my Aunt's engagement party on Saturday night. And then very early Sunday morning I flew back home so that I could be back in Brisbane in time to teach my Sunday School class. So with all of that travel, I had the opportunity to take a couple of plane rides.
I love to fly. I mean, I really love it. I've done a fair bit of it in my lifetime, but it never gets old for me. I always (always) check-in online so I can get a window seat. I love the takeoff, and I love the landing. And most of all, I love just how beautiful the world is up above the clouds. Sometimes I wish I could just float up there for a few minutes, just to feel the quiet that I sense exists when there are no airplanes around.
So very early Sunday morning, I was sitting on the plane, reading the old testament and preparing my Sunday School lesson. The scriptures we were studying last week were so beautiful and so tender, and between those and the view out of the window, I felt very blessed. The sunshine was just glorious, and then down below, for as far as the eye could see, there were the most magnificent, fluffy, white blankets and fabulous clouds. The looked so strong and gentle and beautiful all at the same time and I just wanted to get out and walk up and down them and enjoy all of that peace. It was so evident that the hand of the divine was in that sight.
After a couple of hours, the pilot announced that we would be landing shortly, and we started our descent. I always enjoy going through the cloud layer. It's just a tiny bit thrilling and scary since you can't see anything, and I find myself having a lot of faith in the instruments up in the cockpit. It seemed to take longer than normal to get through the clouds though - the layers were really think. And when we finally burst out through the bottom of them, I did a bit of a double take. It was so gloomy and rainy and dark and cold! I don't actually mind that weather too much actually, but it was just SO different from the world ABOVE the clouds that it completely took me back!
It was probably just because I'd been in a 'lesson preparing' frame of mind for most of the flight, but the whole thing got me thinking, and I've been thinking about it on and off all week. I wonder how often I look up and see gloomy clouds, and rain and darkness, and I wonder how often I get to thinking that that's all there is? And yet I wonder how often the sun is streaming down gloriously, just on the other side of the clouds. And then I wonder what I can do to make sure I'm seeing and enjoying it. I think sometimes clouds gather because of a difficult test or trial, and those storms are real and valid, and require a lot of faith and effort on our part. And there's not much we can do about them. But I also think that a lot of the time I put the clouds there because of a bad attitude, or sin, or a general inclination to refuse to have hope :)
Regardless, I think I'll find it comforting to realize that no matter how dark the clouds might seem, the sun is still shining beautifully just above them. Ultimately, they'll dissipate - clouds always do - and the constant and brilliant sun will be visible again.