One dreary grey day, many years ago, I stared out the window from my seat on a delayed flight to New Mexico. To be honest, the weather reflected my mood pretty accurately. In a word: joyless. After everyone boarded and buckled in, the pilot announced our imminent takeoff. Soon we were speeding down the runway. Our wheels left the tarmac and we climbed higher and higher. The landscape fell away until we were high above looking down at a green monochrome quilt of geometric shapes and interstices.
Then, as we entered a cloud, it all went gray. A cloud is nothing more than fog with a flight plan. But now I couldn’t see where we were going. At such a time, pilots rely heavily on instrument panels. After what seemed like a long time, I was surprised by what I saw next: A sky filled with bright radiant sunshine high above the clouds. In an instant, my mood brightened and so did my perspective.
What does this mean for you?
From the ground, my reality was a cheerless ceiling of darkness. But, I wasn’t seeing the whole picture. My perception was limited. Many of us make choices and base decisions on what we see. More often than not, we have inadequate information. And, we fill in the narrative based on it.
Imagine a spring where it always rained, but the flowers never bloomed. Or, from CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the land where it was always winter but never Christmas. With limited perspectives and you come to limited conclusions. I had determined cloudy days equal a gloomy world. But when the plane landed, to my surprise, it was a gorgeous day in New Mexico.
Going from limited information to more information might feel scary like when our plane went through a huge grey area. The path isn’t always clear. It can feel dark, isolating, cloying. Have you ever driven in the fog? You know what I mean. The road you are so used to traveling in a certain context looks very different when that context is removed. You might even have felt like you were lost, surprised to find out the road traveled in directions that you never noticed before, or that the landmarks weren’t where you expected them to be.
When you can’t see what’s ahead, you must use other methods of navigation. For pilots, an instrument panel. For us, it’s faith. You stay the course even if what you find is completely unexpected. Stay on the road and keep moving forward, no matter what it looks like because sooner or later it will all become clear.
Is anything in the way of you seeing the whole picture? Have some of your decisions been affected by not having all the facts? If things look dark right now, is it because you couldn’t see the whole picture?
Because the truth is, just beyond the cloud cover, beyond the fog, the sun is beaming. There’s a brighter day ahead. The sun hasn’t disappeared, nor has it dimmed it’s light in the least. The sun shines brightly every day whether we can see it or not. We need to remember that clouds, and fog are temporary conditions. Despite the present perspective, the sun still rules the heavens. No amount of clouds or fog–or even smoke–can change that.
No matter what it looks like right now, there are brighter days ahead.. if we just wait it out and keep the faith.
Well-said, and a good analogy!