30,000 Feet of Perspective

Fotolia_29594769_Subscription_XLIt had been a lovely Mother’s Day.  The May weather was gorgeous sunny and yet still cool enough to enjoy.  A promising reminder that Spring is finally here.  I had enjoyed church with my family and then a delicious brunch buffet in our small rural Iowa town.  The only problem was it was too short. I had to excuse myself from brunch early to catch a flight.  On the long drive to the airport I was muttering under my breath about what a royal jerk that man is to schedule our conference that we were literally required to fly in the Sunday night of Mother’s Day.  Who does that?  Doesn’t he have a mother?  I was upset for me and my boys to have the special day cut short and to give up special Sunday time for my job.

To top it all off it was a stormy night predicted.  I am not a huge fan of flying. The flight from Chicago to DC started off smoothly, but as we drew closer to DC the lightning started and the wind began throwing the small plane around.  We experienced quite a few ‘joy stick’ drops where it feels like the pilot jerked the control stick down sharply on purpose as we fall what must be thousands of feet through an air pocket. To this day it is still probably the scariest flight I have ever been on.  As the weather intensifies every person around me seems to have a different reaction. Some seem attempting to ignore it, a few people appear to be reading although I can’t imagine how with all those bumps.  A mom holding her child on her lap, an attempt to soothe herself it appears as much as to calm the little boy.

From directly behind me I start to hear sobbing out loud from a woman.  She is sobbing loudly and reciting the Our Father prayer at the same time.  Just over and over, sobbing and repeating the prayer.  Well, I guess maybe I should be more scared than I am at this point! This is visibly upsetting to those around us that can hear her fear shared right out loud.  I silently wish she would stop that.  It is certainly not helping the situation. It is adding to the atmosphere of fear, making it all seem more surreal and as if something bad really is about to happen.  As I feel my own tension rise wondering if it is worse than I think, the large air drops continue as the weather throws us around. As I wonder if we might not make it I hear something quite unexpected break the thick tension.

“Wheee!!!!!  Whooo Hoooo!!!!!   Wheeee!!!!! Do it again!!!!” from a little girl voice.

This is followed by her mom saying “Sush….be quiet darling, people are uneasy honey.”

“Wheee!!!!!  Whooo Hoooo!!!!!   Wheeee!!!!! Do it again!!!! she repeats, doing as little girls will do, ignoring their parents.

I can’t help myself but laugh right straight out loud.

How beautiful a lesson here before us.  We’ve got one woman trying to pray her way out of a certain early death and one row over in the same exact set of circumstances is a child showing complete and utter joy that she literally cannot bear to contain.  She is enjoying the thrilling ride of her life that she doesn’t want to ever stop. Two different people. Same exact circumstances. What a perfect example of how much your perspective matters. Yes, the little girl is absent of the wise adult knowledge of knowing how bad the result could be. But what good does that knowledge do us if we use for negativity? Both the woman and the little girl are going to have contact with other people once they exit the plane. Which one will spread joy and bring smiles? Which one will bring dread and fear?  Both are affecting others on the plane right now in two very opposite ways.

Makes me think about my own perspective. Am I a woman who had her Mother’s Day unfairly cut short or am I simply a very blessed woman to have the opportunity to even be a mother and spend time with those I love most? Am I a woman robbed of my Sunday by some crappy job requirement, or am I a woman proud and happy of my career that has blessed me and my family with many opportunities? Am I going to spread negativity or joy?

What is your perspective doing to you and those around you?  If you are experiencing negativity and blaming your circumstances take another look. Is the filter you are viewing through flawed? How could you look at the situation differently to use it to bring more grace and love to yourself and others?

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.  ~Abraham Lincoln