By Taylor | August 14, 2012
This may be the deepest blog I ever write.
This past weekend I went to the state of Delaware for the last time. If you are not caught up on my personal life, my immediate family (mom, stepdad, sister) moved to Delaware due to my stepdaddy being stationed in the Air Force there. However, it was the last time because they each are finally moving to Ohio, which is where they are all from, since my stepdad, Mike, has now retired from his 20 years of service in the Air Force.
Side note: I attended his retirement ceremony this past weekend in Delaware and it was by far the coolest, most prestigious
ceremony I’ve ever been in. It was held in a huge museum filled with retired planes from the Force (really neat) and the chairs
and stage area were set up far more elaborately than I initially thought. The family was escorted down the aisle and eventually
presented certificates of appreciation for being such great supports. It looked and felt just like it would have in the movies, you
know when you see serious men in uniform and super official things are happening that makes you want to “stand at attention.”
Yeah, those things. But as I sat there I’ve never been so proud of my Mike in my whole almost 4 years that I’ve had the privelage
of being his stepdaughter. He’s done a great honor and he will continue to do so as he teaches young folks like us the importance
of service for our country in Russell, Kentucky, which is close to where they’re moving.
Anyway, back to my main discussion. My pawpaw (grandfather for those of you who think I’m weird) and I flew to Delaware for this ceremony last weekend. And on the way back, my pawpaw – who is man who grew up in rural Ohio working on oil wells and farms, brought up a most intriguing topic.
He’s looking out the plane window as we’re up in the air while I’m (finally) reading The Da Vinci Code, and sees something like this:
He then looks to me and says: “This is a pretty wonderful place we got here, ain’t it?”
Immediately and without hesitation I nodded my head in agreement, because I know this place is wonderful. We all do. It’s Earth. So many things and wonders are possible on our planet that aren’t possible on others. So, if we weren’t on Earth, we wouldn’t be able to have, see, hear, touch, smell, or experience almost EVERYTHING we do. So I nodded. But I didn’t think of what my pawpaw was going to say next.
“And we think we got problems.”
Boom. Instantly, Earth wasn’t the pleasant place in my head anymore. It wasn’t the place that was extraordinary or had infinite opportunities. It was something else. It was filled with angst, sorrow and fear. I looked out the window and saw what my pawpaw was seeing: tiny buildings and roads which contained tiny people and cars that seemed all smushed together like tiny dots in a gumball machine.
“Big problems,” my pawpaw then followed up with.
And we do. He isn’t wrong. The world has problems that are both public and secret. Some you can’t even imagine or think too long about because it only instills more of that fear.
But as I looked out at all those tiny dots, I played a little game inside my head. I tried to guess how far apart one problematic dot was from another dot .. that was dealing with the same, exact problem. When you look at the world from the sky, everything is one. People, buildings, roads, towns, cities … Earth. We are all in the same gumball machine. So why is it when you look at the world from above, you feel safer and more assured that the Earth is a magical and wonderful place to be, but when you’re down at the ground and all alone, it’s not?
After moments of silence that my pawpaw and I were staring outside the window at the blue sky, sporadic clouds and lumps of green and blue, I said, “It’s not that we have problems that’s the problem. It’s that we focus too much on the problems.”
He said “Yeah, exactly!” a little too loud for the quiet plane, but he understood. I had never seen this side of my pawpaw before, but he understood. And we talked for a minute on how things wouldn’t be filled with that angst and fear if we just focused on the bigger picture, the green and blue, the gumball machine.
It’s all I’ve been thinking about since I got off the plane that day, so I thought I’d share it with you. But I know the next time I begin to complain about a problem and/or criticize how this world is falling apart, I’m gonna stop focusing on the actual problem and think about what specifically I’m doing to make it seem worse than it really is.
Photo cred: http://www.sodahead.com/fun/whats-your-airplane-seat-preference/question-1677081/?page=2&link=ibaf&q=outside+a+plane+window&imgurl=http://www.pastaqueen.com/halfofme/images/2009-11/airplane.jpg
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