As I sit in the airport waiting for my connecting flight, my ever-wandering mind couldn’t help to think about life as a plane ride. After boarding the plane and reaching my seat, the captain made his announcement and concluded with: ”sit back, relax and enjoy the flight”. As a looked around, I was amazed by the calmness in the main cabin. For the first time, it occurred to me that a totally able person could actually accept the fact that he or she had no control whatsoever over what was going to take place for the next few hours, yet remained calm. Just acknowledging that simple fact and making peace with it made everyone’s ride comfortable and enjoyable!
I don’t know about you, but to me, a plane is always an unlikely place to experience such peace and tranquility. Think about over 150 total strangers who just happen to find themselves on the same plane, smaller that one person’s house. Although everyone knows that a journey has an origin and destination, no one really knows where the other is coming from or where he or she is going. In reality, origin, destination, past or future of someone else seems the least concern of any passenger. Everyone is living the “NOW” moment during which social status, fame and expertise are irrelevant at least for the duration of the flight!
35000 feet in the skies, every passenger realizes that someone else is running the show in the cockpit. Every passenger knows he or she is a temporary traveller on a plane which is eventually left as found; the maps, route, take off and landing times were pre-programed and there is absolutely nothing one can do to get there faster. Walking back and forth won’t add anything to the duration of the flight. So, everyone knows it works best for everyone to just “sit back, relax and enjoy the flight”.
Although we may not technically be “in control”, what we choose to do during our “limited time” on the plane can make someone else’s ride enjoyable or a nightmare. You have probably seen situations where one person may decide to be very mean to fellow passengers. These situations however, are often exceptions rather than rules. In fact, such person is often ridiculed and made feel ashamed of his or her behavior. Gentle, kind gestures to make someone’s ride easier and comfortable are more observed than mean, selfish behaviors. Small sacrifices of one’s comfort for someone else’s are not unheard of either. I think the kindness happens mainly because everyone realizes the “temporary nature” of the flight. I witnessed a gentle man who ceded his first class seat to a sick man who needed to rest.
Yes, the gentle man had paid for his “temporary” comfort but he willingly gave it out to ease someone’s pain. For the gentle man, the focus was not the comfort of the ride but the safe arrival to the destination. He was wise enough to understand that he only had his first class seat as long as he was on the plane and he could not take it with him. While being kind to a stranger may have cost him “temporary” comfort, it surely brought joy to both of them, which could not have bought by the price of a first class seat. After all, whether you rid in the first or coach class, we all board and exit through the same door only when whoever is in charge says it’s time! It’s amazing how what we do during the ride may affect the time we spend at our final destinations. Some create happy memories for themselves and for others; others choose the opposite and may end up in unintended destination upon landing–jail!
I guess what I am trying to say here is that while we have this life that we treasure, we should treat it like a ride. Let’s us acknowledge the fact that there is someone (GOD) who controls when we get in and when get out of this world. As much as some of us spend all our time trying to make ourselves comfortable and to extend our ride (life), we have no control over when it’s time to go. Regardless of which side of the cabin you ride in (rich or poor), we all come in and go out the same way leaving everything behind!
Can you imagine how crazy it would be and how unsafe the ride could be if everyone tried to fight for and conquer additional seats on the plane knowing everything is left in the plane upon exit? Like the plane has enough seats for all of its passengers, I believe that this world has enough resources for everyone born into it. While we are on it, we should spend time creating happy memories and making everyone’s life a little more comfortable instead of fighting over things that we won’t take when we die? God must be weeping when he watches countries fighting over borders and his people killing each other for wealth and other things that they are destined to leave behind when they die.
You and I may not live to see the end of problems in this world. However, I believe that we can help someone see the end of problems in his life at least as long as we ride together. I want to challenge you to take advantage of the “moment” when you seat with a customer in your office, ride with someone in an elevator or simply walk by someone in the park. As long as you are together, you have the power to affect the trajectory to their destination, which you may not even know. More importantly, let God sit in the cockpit and take control while you relax and enjoy the ride! Life is more fun and enjoyable that way!