Our View From Above

In a recent trip to the East Coast to visit our granddaughter, Erica, and her parents, Aaron and Emily, I couldn’t help but reflect on our view from 35,000 feet above the earth’s surface. I’m not one to snap photos through the nine-inch square window of a jumbo jet but on this particular trip I chose to snap a few. It is a view like none other and it got me reflecting on life through a similar view.

When I awoke this morning the network news was all about the Iranian General who was killed by a missile fired from a US drone. The talking heads on the morning news were highly critical of the move, suggesting that Iran was all but certain to respond with force in the coming days. The television news networks seemed to dare Iran not to react, knowing from past experience that our actions would then be justification for whatever Iran comes up with in retaliation to our move.

Part of me wanted to just change the channel preferring instead to watch re-runs of MASH or some other mindless programing that didn’t require me to participate in the fervor of the day, but I resisted the temptation to look away.

If you are like me you will have many emotions about news like this, not the least of which would include the thought “why do I care, it doesn’t involve me.” But to have that thought would be disingenuous of the facts because it does indeed involve me.

Starting close to home, what happens to our troops overseas does indeed involve me. My oldest son is a member of the Army Reserve and his unit is serving a one-year deployment in “the sand box” as it is referred to. I don’t have a single detail about my son’s deployment other than the fact that his unit has been in the middle east and is just now ending a one-year deployment.

I should care what happened to an Iranian General because it could directly affect my son’s unit with the real possibility of extending their deployment in the middle east. Regardless of whether it is my son or daughter or someone else’s, the simple fact that our troops are in harms way does matter.

It is easy to look at affairs overseas and think we are insulated from them, and maybe we are to a great extent, but someone’s child is in fact in harms way. Thankfully, the relative peace that we have benefited from in the middle east hasn’t required hundreds of thousands of America troops, but it has in fact involved too many for my comfort zone.

I want peace in the world and I’m certain that the vast majority of the world’s citizens would pray for world peace as well, but there are too many warmongers spread across the earth for that to come to pass. If I were to look out the window of an airplane flying over the African continent I would be looking down upon millions of the world’s citizens living in areas of conflict, hatred and oppression. From my comfortable seat flying over the continent I don’t have to worry about each individual and the poor quality of their lives any more than they would look at the contrail of our jumbo jet and think about what’s going on in my life.

Though I would yearn for all the peoples of the earth to be able to live in peace I don’t want my children to be the ones whose personal involvement guarantees it. I suppose that is a selfish thought to have but short of the end of times when I believe the Lord will return to manage things, we will always see conflict.

As we begin this new year and a new decade I encourage you to take your own snapshot from high above your world. If you are grateful for what you have then be sure to live a life of gratitude. Use your good fortune to bless the lives of those around you so that you might both prosper. If you feel the universe owes you something I would suggest that you shift your focus to the few things you can change to improve your station in life, which in turn will likely bless others in ways you won’t foresee until after it has happened.

It’s not too much to hope for a better world, especially when you are alive and can help it come to pass. Spend this next decade looking outward, not inward, and I guarantee your happiness will increase.

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