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Tindell Baldwin »

Lessons from the air

Sitting on the plane behind three giggling girls reminds me of how things have changed. They met only an hour ago but are instant friends and while the rest of the plane flies in silence, ear phones in, reminding everyone to keep to themselves. They giggle and laugh and understand something I have come to forget, we are all the same. Bonded by the simplicity that they are humans and nothing else. They don’t ask each other about incomes or religion, and they aren’t concerned that they may never see each other again. I cant help but wonder how we have gotten so far from that? When did I start believing that people were only worth connecting with if I had things in common: white, female, young. The list goes on but I bet if I got down to the depths of my plane partners heart they would want the same things, be driven by the same desires, and have an undeniable need for connection with others. However when people sit next to me I instinctively grab for my phone, put in my earphones, or scan the magazine I have already looked at. The sign above my forehead reads “do not disturb” and it is seen by all but children under the age of ten.

When moving forward in life it almost seems instinctual to think about the way things used to be. I remember the days when life never seemed over whelming and joy was abundant. I remember when stress didn’t mean anything and sleep was something I would do when the playing was done.I know with age brings responsibilities and with responsibilities the need to let life over take you but somehow I want the joy of childhood back. I want the everyone is a new friend mentality instead of the notion that enemy’s are at every corner. Somehow as the days and years go by the ability to handle life has becomes harder and where there was once abundant joy there is now fear.

Getting married has caused me to look at who I am not and who I was then and see the gap. As adults we strive to be better, stronger, more responsible but if I am honest I am getting worse with age. I think the best version of me was when I was five. I believe at the age of five I knew what was important and anything past that wasn’t worth worrying about. At five I understood something that has been reversed with time, God loves me. At five I had a feeling of safety that no amount of alarm systems, locked doors, and shotguns can replicate. At five I believed what people told me and didn’t assume the worst. When I was five my imagination ruled my Saturdays and I could spend hours in a box pretending that it was my home. At five God was my friend and when I was told he was going to take care of me I had no reason to doubt. It was the time before life got a hold of me, before I realized life wasn’t the candy land I had made it out to be. It was before I was hurt by my first boyfriend, lied to by my best friend, and told to be awake for sixteen hours a day with homework. The time before my cell phone was a necessity and I needed seven social networking sites to keep up with people down the street. It was the time before I realized people weren’t all good and that being a woman is a dangerous thing. A time before politics and the “polite answers”. A time when I didn’t blame the disappointments of life on God.

Sadly something happens in this world after you live here long enough, it wins, and you realize that God meant something when he said “focus on the things that are eternal”. I cant ignore the reality that hurt is more prevalent than healing and I cant reverse time. We can hide from knowledge, we can shelter ourselves from evil, and we can try to keep the child like faith but it doesn’t change the fallen world around us. Only we can change it, remembering what we knew to be true as children, before life told us we were wrong. Because evil doesn’t change the truth that God is good. Hurting does change that God can heal and disappointment does not prove that God is unfaithful. All this proves is that it is more important than ever to remember what the little girls on the plane grasped and that which I have forgotten, we are all the same.

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