Our plane backed from the jet way and taxied along the tarmac, loud and insistent. I looked over at my thirteen-year-old daughter. She was staring out the window, face practically pressed up against the glass.
“What is that?” she asked, pointing at one of the many vehicles driving around the airport, weaving in and out of the planes.
“I think they carry luggage,” I said. “Are you nervous?”
“No!” she said, and I could tell by her voice that she was telling the truth. She was totally absorbed in the moment. The sky was a low, slate gray. Rain trickled down the thick windows.
Our plane paused at the head of the runway and then accelerated. The ground moved past us like time, the drops on the window were driven horizontal, and the massive jet leaned back, its nose up. I looked at her. She was grinning. Then the plane left the ground. The world dropped away.
“How far up do you think we are right now?” she asked, her voice quiet, reverent.
“Maybe five hundred feet. Maybe a thousand.”
“It’s amazing,” she said quietly. “We should be scared right now. If we were at the fair and a ride went up this high, we’d be terrified! But here, inside the plane, it isn’t scary at all.” She didn’t look away from the window. She pointed out things in the distance. A water tower. The shape of the water. Cars crawling along the highway.
Soon, we rose up into the haze of clouds. A great turbulence set in, shaking us up and down, left and right. I started to get nervous. “Are you okay?” I asked her. I was less than okay myself, but she smiled back at me.
“I’m fine, Dad. Isn’t this incredible?”
I have been in an airplane more times than I can count. I have heard the roar of the engines, the belly-rumbling when the landing gear lowers. More often than not, I lay my head back against the seat and fall asleep before we even take off. The act of leaving the ground in a vehicle that weighs seventy-five tons no longer holds much fascination for me—not because it has stopped being fascinating but simply because I no longer have the eyes to see.
In Matthew 16, following the feeding of the four thousand related in Matthew 15, Jesus and his disciples are in a boat going across the lake. In the amount of time it takes them to cross, the disciples seem to forget the miracle Jesus just performed: serving thousands of people with only seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. Jesus warns them, in that moment, to beware the yeast of the Pharisees, and how do the disciples interpret this warning?
“It is because we didn’t bring any bread” (v. 7).
Mere hours before, Jesus made seven loaves of bread stretch to feed thousands of people. Seven loaves! Yet already the disciples have returned to this scarcity mindset, worried that they are out of bread. How quickly we forget.
Children help us rediscover the joy and beauty in the world that our years have covered over. They help us remember how amazing this life is.
This is where children come in. Children help us rediscover the joy and beauty in the world that our years have covered over. They help us remember how amazing this life is. They help us see once again how beautiful the world looks from forty thousand feet when the sun is setting in the west and the clouds are turning red.
What amazing things have you forgotten? What will it take for you to see again?