In most ways the meanings we attach to life’s experiences, the insights we harvest from all we do is really a matter of perspective. Let me share a story that also reminded me that life’s blessings are often masked in the travail that periodically punctuates our existence.
Last week I traveled to Canada. My usual airline did not have a good week canceling three of my flights in two days including my return flight. I was a little put out by these goings on, but did manage to get a flight out to New York City at the crack of dawn. Our flight took us right over the island of Manhattan. As a native son I thought I had come to know “The City” in all ways possible. But I was wrong. As I peered out the plane’s window the buildings that populated the concrete forest below sparkled in the sun’s early morning radiance. The dark green foliate of Central Park with its boundaries starkly drawn appeared as a sort of Oz. It was all simply beautiful.
I love New York City, but like any great city it has its infirmities-noise, heat, folks reacting to the stress of its high pitched environment- you get the picture. But as a mostly earth bound creature I forgot that none of that is sensed when you are somewhere between heaven and the curbs below. Again it is all a matter of perspective. Of course none of this would have occurred if my originally planned flight had not been cancelled!
When we landed I came back to earth in more than one way. Few airports are nurturing environments and my interim destination was no exception. As my mood darkened I stopped at one of the food providers. Standing on a long line to purchase a cold breakfast the woman who was serving us began to chant “Good morning, please join us, good morning please join us!” and she clearly meant it. I thanked her and I really meant it as well!
At a recent speaking engagement I told my audience that we all manifest our own reality. The uniquely human gift of free will allows us to decide at any moment how we will feel or react to anything that occurs in our lives. Next time I make that point, I will not forget to mention that as hard as we may try, there will be some days when we may need a kind soul’s warm welcome or the sense of wonder evoked by an early morning flight to ignite our most positive view of the world around us.