What I learned about Life from an Airplane

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As I crane my neck to see out of the cramped airplane window, I see my life—my vision for life—unveil before my eyes. My ultimate dreams and goals unfold like the fields, homes, and cities beneath me—each parcel representing one project completed—one project contributing to the bigger picture.

At 30, 000 feet I see a nation.

My building projects each sit on their little lots, some under construction, some benefiting those who care for them in their finished state. My degree, certifications, half-marathons, relationships, blogs, websites . . . each are represented.

A sewer plant of messes festers with trouble. Constantly, that water is processed and churned out as fresh, new, nourishing substance. More messes will keep the levels even as other problems are solved from the brown murky flow.

Fields of fresh ideas sprout green and hopeful in different patches. Yellow mustard, ripe wheat, and sturdy sprouts, are all in different stages of growth. These bright ideas give life and breath to the little community of Progress. Without the fields feeding the village . . . without the constant harvest of creativity . . . death would be inevitable. As it is, I continue to pound nails and set concrete, glancing over at my fields and deeply inhaling energy from the new. The unknown. My dreams.

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There, too, are forests of opportunity. Strong towering trees beckon me into their shade and promise a bigger future. Tall pines and knotty oaks offer endless reward if I can but capitalize on their value.

Building roads can be tiresome, but from this view I feel accomplishment as I see them snaking from project to project, making processes quicker, faster, and more efficient. A smile warms my face as I remember trying to climb to the top of a nearby mountain without a road. How foolish. Operation thwarted, I slid back down and began laying the rebar, the cement, the conversations, the studying, the painstaking implementation, the skills, the habits. Now I scale the mountain easily . . . sometimes you need the skills and tools to succeed before you can complete a task. You need a road before you reach your destination.

Rivers wind through my valley of progress, refreshing and renewing the fields and providing life-source to the community. The river banks eagerly collect raindrops of affirming words, and add them to the already brimming words of life from friends and family swirling in little eddies. Books of inspiration join the meandering current along with God’s Word and my quiet times with him . . . the true living Water. Some pastures die for lack of irrigation, but overall my valley is fertile, blossoming with revitalizing rivers of truth and love.

Dirt fields lay scattered throughout the valley. Dormant. Weedy. Dusty. My weaknesses sometimes scatter weeds and powdery dust on the bright meadows or freshly painted structures. If they largely impact my town of Progress I work to tear out the weeds of bad habits and character flaws and replant with a new crop. Some I leave. I’m in the process of leaving the bedrock of low follow-through and taproots of low-implementation, instead using my creativity to build a park above the surface.

Use your strengths to work around those unchangeable weaknesses.

Hot sun spurs me on with its competitive drive. I see brightness and I desire to grow brighter. I see massiveness and it spurs me on to grow larger. Great men and women, heros, role-models, inspiring books and quotes, shine down in warm rays. They make me sweat, but I thrive under heat . . . under pressure . . . under deadlines. Sometimes I’m burned, but more often, I grow.

I continue peering from 30, 000 feet but some clouds block my view. I won’t know until I get closer the details or the order of steps I need to take in some areas. True, I have a foggy idea of a plan for Lot A. I’d like to Coach Volleyball this season and add a nice little two-story apartment to my life story. But I don’t know the facts, the steps, the paint color, the potential building permits I’ll run into, or the tree that may be growing right where I want to build. Some things you just can’t see clearly from 30,000 feet.

Be aware of the clouds.

Winds of doubt, opposition, and tornados of emotional turmoil sometimes rip through Progress. Sometimes I have to set my tools aside and take a break, other times I work in the elements and the opposition matures me. Building goes slow, but it’s still moving ahead. At times the wind, hail, or elements batter my fields of dreams, but it’s better that way. I have a lot of fields. If it meant a lot to me, I’ll replant, but sometimes I leave the field dormant for awhile until a new seed strikes my fancy.

I like looking down from 30, 000 feet. It gives perspective of the bigger picture—my bigger vision. But if I stay up here for too long, nothing will move forward on the ground. So don’t take more that a couple hour ride. As soon as that plane lands, get to work. There’s a new goal that needs the foundation laid, a field to plant, or a road that needs to be built to get there.

You can build a nation.

Dreaming big with you,

The Kathryn Joy

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