Above the Clouds

photo by Ben Bunch

photo by Ben Bunch

 One morning in high school, I woke up and looked out my window. It was gloomy; a thick, charcoal cloud blanketed the entire sky and light rain dive-bombed from above. On this particular day, I would be flying west to Colorado to go camping with my sister and her family. I was never a big fan of flying on days like this, but there was no use complaining about the inevitable. I groggily packed my things and shuffled out the door.

I sat in my airplane seat as it taxied to the runway and felt ambivalent. I was excited to go on a trip, but less than enthused about the flight that would precede it. It’s not that I was a nervous flyer…  I just didn’t feel like sitting in a cramped seat for five hours and breathe recycled air while snacking on stale pretzels. Waking up to dreariness had affected my demeanor accordingly. 

 

Up, Up And Away

 

The plane accelerated down the runway and angled up into the air. I watched raindrops streak across my window and shook with the bumpy turbulence of entering the cloud cover. I leaned my still-fatigued head back into my seat and closed my eyes.

Suddenly, the shaking stopped. I felt a warm light against my face. I opened my eyes and took a look out the window.

What I saw was nothing out of the ordinary, but it folded over me like a warm blanket. The sky was flawlessly blue, with a cheery sun shining brilliantly, alone in the atmosphere. Below lay the same mantle of clouds, but from above they looked like a fluffy dessert topping of bright white, expanding into a soft and pillowy landscape on all sides. The scene was inviting and serene, and my mood abruptly changed along with it.

 

Perspective From On High

 

This was the moment I realized that everything in life is a matter of perspective. This idyllic panorama had been there all along, but I had been focused only on what I saw underneath. The fact is that even on the stormiest of days, it’s always sunny above the clouds. Sometimes it takes a little bit of outside-the-box thinking to realize that.

It’s not the most original sentiment I’ve ever had, but I still regularly think back to that moment all these years later. So much of how we see our lives is simply that: how we choose to see it. So often we have more to be happy and excited about than we realize. All too frequently we focus on the rain cloud pouring on us and forget that there’s another side to that story. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked down a sunny street with a storm cloud in my mind. Now I try to remember that I don’t have to worry about it so much.

 

Life is beautiful, life is wonderous
Every star above is shining just for us
Life is beautiful on a stormy night
Somewhere in the world the sun is shining bright
-Keb’ Mo’