Smile... The Future's On Its Way
by C.J. Horn
It's All in the Perspective
Consider a man taking a walk along a familiar path, one he has traced many times. On this particular day he sees something he has never noticed before. Perhaps it is a different time of day, or the change in season makes the light shine at a different angle. At any rate, he spends just a few minutes studying his new discovery. When at last he resumes his walk, he experiences a disorientation because the new information he has acquired on the very same walk he has traced numerous times makes the familiar path seem entirely new.
Being disoriented simply means that the former "orientation" or frame of reference has been changed. It usually is connected with a negative response as when someone feels lost. We say they are disoriented. But it can also be a very positive experience. The child that is oriented to getting ready for school at 7:00 a.m., experiences a feeling of "disorientation" if it is Christmas morning at 7:00. The day will take on an entirely new look if the perspective adopted for the day is "It's Christmas!"
I learned an important lesson about perspective the day our son took his solo airplane flight. I watched this from the ground as a novice with no flight training.
On the day of the flight, our son led us down a long row of planes at the airport.
He turned to his father and sister and me and said, "There's the plane I'll solo in." I followed the direction of his gesture and picked out a nice large airplane. "This won't be so bad," I thought. As we got closer, I realized the plane he was pointing to was so small it was hidden behind the plane I was looking at. Next he introduced his instructor. The instructor looked too young to fly himself, much less teach someone else to do the same. We stood back as our son and the instructor walked over to that very small plane and began the pre-flight check. It seemed to me the instructor did not pay very close attention and let our son do most of the checking. I wondered if he would be so relaxed if he knew the condition of the young man's room at home who was getting ready to take that plane up in the air. After a few minutes, our son and his instructor climbed into the cockpit. This was the first time I had ever seen our only son in the front seat of an airplane. Suddenly he didn't look much older than the young man who lived at our house and had wrecked his bike a lot. He opened a little window to the side of the plane and yelled, "Clear!" I knew then that this was no simple bike ride. "Clear!" is what pilots say in the movies—before they take off on final missions—it's when the violins swell.
I tried to put thoughts like that out of my mind as the plane's engine coughed once and started. The plane pulled slowly out of its parking place and left larger and safer looking planes behind. The cockpit seemed full of the smile and big shoulders of our son as he steered away from us. Twilight painted the sky with a pale red and gold that ran down to the mountains in the west. That moment was full of the plane, the sky, and the breeze that was cool because summer was gone. The plane pulled to the start of the runway and waited its turn. Inside that small cockpit, a pilot was doing the things I've seen other pilots do. The engine was revved, controls were pushed and pulled by cables. But inside the plane there was someone who was part of us, doing something we had never done before. The plane pulled out on the runway, barely paused and took off . Our pilot son and the plane, that now looked smaller than ever, lifted effortlessly off the dark ribbon of runway into the sunset.
On the second flight around "the pattern" the plane stopped and the instructor got out. He walked to where we stood as our son took off—alone in the cockpit. On that September evening, the young man who had left childhood's summer behind forever, pulled back on the plane's yoke and flew—solo.
It has been years since that September day. Recently my son and I talked about the differences in my perspective and his that day. He trusted the plane because it had carried him safely through several hours of instruction. I perceived the plane as untested. When his plane left the runway, I was thinking of sunsets and a boy. His mind was on airspeed and keeping the plane straight on the runway. In other words, he did not look to the left or the right. And above all else, my view from the ground caused me to lose sight of his small plane as it flew the "pattern." What I have learned since is that he had the runway in sight all the time.
The key to maintaining confidence to face the future is in the perspective. If God expects us to pilot each new day in a world filled with uncertainties, then we can be sure He'll give us the proper training and equipment — and the runway will be lighted to show the way home. It is my hope that after reading this book of perspectives, life's path will take on a new look because it can be approached with confidence and courage. It is not positive thinking that is necessary, it is right thinking. Whatever the path may be, know this: the runway lights are out, the landing field ever in sight, shining "more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).