“Look! Clouds! Look at the clouds!”Yup, that was me on my first flight. From the sound of it, you’d think I was nine years old. Uh…no. More like twenty. Twenty years old and on my honeymoon. This was my first flight, but my husband had flown many times for his job. So you can imagine he was not as thrilled about clouds as I was.
That honeymoon flight was the first of many trips. Working for international companies, I was privileged to fly across North and South America, with more than a few trips to the United Kingdom, too.
Now that I’m traveling again in conjunction with writing and speaking, I’ve learned the hard way that flying isn’t what it used to be.
For one thing, prices for the same flight change from day to day. Insider information says the best time to buy a domestic ticket is 54 days in advance…unless it’s for a popular vacation destination. Then you need to buy 75 days in advance. But for Las Vegas it’s 81 days and for Hawaii you’ll want to purchase 87 days in advance. Of course, cheap fares can also be found on Tuesday afternoons.
Confused yet? No? Okay, then let’s talk baggage.
The days of free checked bags are long gone. And it looks like the days of free carry-ons are heading that way, too. Some airlines now charge $25. for any carry-on that doesn’t fit under your seat. It seems passengers are reluctant to check their luggage. They’re loath to pay for the privilege of having their luggage arrive at a different airport instead of their scheduled destination.
And my last trip? To get from Florida to Maine last week, I left home 9:30 am and arrived at my destination 2:15 am the next day. Almost seventeen hours. In all fairness, the airlines couldn’t control the stormy weather forcing a plethora of flight cancellations. But that didn’t prevent a steady stream of complaints from travelers throughout the airport.
No wonder a recent travel survey revealed that 41% of respondents found the most stressful thing about vacations to be staying within budget, and the second highest stressor (18%) was actually getting to the destination.
Despite the hassles, I keep reminding myself of the sheer wonder of flying. Of sitting in a seat while hurtling through the sky at five hundred miles an hour. Of traveling thousands of miles in just a few hours instead of days or weeks. Of cruising above the clouds—above the clouds!
Sad to say, it’s common for me to lose my sense of wonder these days. To take for granted things as grand as a jet plane or as delicate as a butterfly. To ignore a sunset or fail to notice a rainbow.I’m not the exception. Too many of us have spent our lives seeking miracles to solve our problems, not realizing the fact that we woke up this morning is a miracle in itself. Take a moment to consider the human body in all its wonder: sixty trillion cells, unique fingerprints, six hundred muscles, and a brain that’s 85% water. And most of the time it all works automatically, even while we sleep.
The greatest wonder of all is that our holy God is also the One who made a way for us to be restored to Him. Because of Jesus, I can call the God of Creation, Father.
We’re surrounded by wonders, if we would only notice. “Take time to stop and smell the roses” is old advice, but still valid…more so in a culture where much of the time the only roses we see are on Facebook.
Have you lost your sense of wonder? I’m determined to delight in the wonders – both large and small – that comprise my days. Will you join me?