Recently, I found myself on a plane. It was late at night, and when I boarded I walked the length of the plane until I found a seat that granted me a view of the night sky. I haven’t flown in a while, and despite my tiredness from a long day, I was excited for take-off. Eventually the seats filled up until we were all just sardines in one big tin ready to take flight. Soon the whole plane was vibrating as the aircraft gained enough speed to defy gravity. Before I knew it, we were flying.
Despite the late time, I couldn't find it in myself to sleep during the short two-hour flight home. Maybe it was the caffeine in my system, or the general excitement of traveling. Whatever it was, I found myself glancing out the window often, as I was lucky enough to have a window seat in this flight. Seeing the earth from far above at night is a beautiful sight. During the fight, I glanced out the window, and saw a city.
It was incredible, and I couldn’t help but imagine how many people lived there. Then I got to thinking. Real life never looks the same below as it does above. Below me at that moment lived thousands of souls, each struggling through their own challenges. Some were hurting, some were happy, some have a roof above their head, some didn’t. I couldn’t see these people, I was too far above, too far disconnected. It is easy to be apathetic when you are just flying by. It is much harder to be apathetic when you are on the ground looking reality in the eye and seeing the world for how hurt and broken it can be.
My plane flew past that city, I only saw it for a minute before it was out of sight again, but still, I wondered, my imagination taking flight. I wondered what would have happened if I decided that was my destination. What would I have found? I probably would have learned the name of that city at that point. If I had made my way downtown, who would I meet, and what stories would I hear? If I had decided to make that place my home, what church would I get involved in and what could I have done for local outreach?
My answer to that is I don’t know, because that was not my destination, but it might be yours. What can you do for your community, and how can you get involved in local outreach? I encourage you as we enter this new year to make it a goal to help somebody, somehow, somewhere. I will make it my goal as well.
Collectively, we can make a difference.