Sunday, September 7, 2008

Between Dusk and Dawn

Long ago I stopped counting how many times I've made the trip from the U.S. to Germany, but if I had to estimate, I'd say I've made that particular round-trip flight at least twenty times, very likely more. I've lost the exhilaration and excitement I used to get from flying across the world, possibly because I've added two kids and car seats to my luggage. I doubt I'm the only mother who considers flying across the Atlantic torture.

Don't misunderstand; I love, love being in Germany with my family, but as with anything worthwhile, you have to pay a price to get there. And I'm not talking about the price of the plane ticket. I'm talking about the kink in your neck from trying to sleep sitting up. I'm talking about trying to change a stinky diaper in your lap because there's no room in the lavatory. I'm talking about a numb bum and blood-shot eyes from the staleness of the situation. I'm talking about a dry throat and airplane food--ick. I'm talking about the feeling you get when your baby starts screaming because his ears are bursting from the altitude. I'm talking about the germs. I'm talking about being so dead tired by the end of the flight that you're passed out and drooling with your jaw dropped.

But as much as flight time is something I now dread, I do enjoy one thing about those long flights. Because of the time change and how difficult it is to sleep when squished and frozen in place (as not to wake the baby), I'm often awake on the plane between dusk and dawn. And I have to say, it's a glorious time.

Whatever reason a person might have to stay up all night when their feet are planted on Earth (can't put a book down, illness, a newborn baby...), it's a completely different feeling to experience the quiet of night from a plane at an altitude of 37,000 feet. To be traveling through time so quickly that the span between dusk and dawn only lasts but a few hours, and to have the hum of the plane's engine making only your thoughts audible, makes it an ideal setting for pondering the wonders of the universe.

It's between those short hours as I watch the sun set and then rise again so quickly that I do some of my best soul searching. I never fail to awe at the vastness of the ocean or the intricate beauty of the Earth below or the limitless skies and the spectrum of colors. When I step back, (or up in this case), away from life for a minute and remember what a beautiful creation God has given mankind--what a miracle and awe the Earth and the skies are, I feel small. But I also feel immensely loved and big because I know he made this wondrous school ground for me. And for you. And for everybody.


  1. LOVE IT! you articulate experiences we all have had in such a beautiful way that is hits the heart. you are so gifted. loved chatting with you today, can't wait to see you hawaii pics! i am so excited for you and your new purchase!

  2. I love how I thought this piece was going in one direction, and then it changed into something else so thoughtful!




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