Alex Watt

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Taking Off and Landing

As I left Pittsburgh for New York not three weeks ago, and New York for Boston, I got to experience the joy of flying again: The takeoff, the exhilaration of launching a ship into space, the views of the city when every skyscraper becomes a doll house.

Photo credit: Noah Silliman

On the flight to New York, I had the privilege of sitting by a window in front of a little girl also sitting by a window. Takeoff was, for her, one of the greatest things in the world. I knew it by what she said. And when we left the city behind, we traded that view for literally golden clouds, shining in the glory of the new day.

After being in the air awhile, I got to thinking: What is it with beginnings and endings? The takeoff and landing are amazing, but it’s also a mercy that we can coast at hundreds of miles an hour, tens of thousands of feet in the air, with hardly a change in velocity. I can rest my cup on the little table before me and though it runs over with blessing, it does not spill.

Today, I want to thank God for every everyday flight — not just for the takeoffs and the landings. Yes, beginnings are laden with expectation, and I think they’re meant to be: Coming to Christ, starting an exciting new job or project, falling in love. And a good landing brings with it a destination. But what about the things that are upheld, the flights that took off years ago? I ought to be thankful for those too. Not a bird falls from the sky apart from the will of my Father – and not a plane flies apart from his will either.

Posted on 23 Jul 2016.

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