Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Looking out the Window
Last week on my flight to Atlanta (this was before the Southwest plane’s roof blew off!) I sat next to a college-aged woman who’d never been on an airplane before. She didn’t hide how nervous she was and, though I tried to reassure her we’d be okay, as we took off she was seriously nervous.
However, when we got above the clouds she just stared out the window and gasped, “Oh! Do you see this? It’s like an ocean with waves!”
I looked out the window. Just a bunch of clouds beneath us. “Sure,” I said. “It’s nice.”
But she could barely contain herself as she saw them softly wisp across each other. “It’s the breath of God,” she said softly.
The breath of God.
Seeing the sense of wonder in her eyes, hearing the awe in her voice, struck me deeply. Here was a woman seeing something I’ve seen hundreds of times and she was astonished by the beauty of it, while I’d been staring at my in-flight magazine and hadn’t even bothered to look out the window.
Walt Whitman wrote, “A mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.” This universe is full of whispers of God’s mystery, his presence, his character. But most of the time we’re too blind or busy or distracted to notice.
As a writer I’m supposed to notice what other people miss, see things from a unique perspective, help people open their eyes to the real world shimmering beneath the mundane, but it took a young woman seeing something for the first time to do that for me.
I remember thinking, Wonder is living around you, Steve, clouds are whispering by, carried on the breath of God.
So today, I’m trying to see life again.
Really see it.
As if I’m looking out the window for the very first time.