I spent some time on the beach the other day, soaking in the last rays of summer. I noticed a plane soaring through the cloudless, azure sky. I watched as it got smaller and smaller before completely disappearing into the blue.
I thought about the fact that at that moment what I saw go by was probably around 200 people having drinks, eating snacks, having conversations, or napping. A movie likely played in the cabin as flight attendants busied themselves in service. Yet what I could actually see was an absurdly tiny dot fade into the sky. So incongruous!
Thoughts of heaven came to mind – this place we can’t see or even imagine somewhere “up there,” inhabited by millions of souls that have gone before us – perhaps having drinks, eating snacks, having conversations, or napping. And of course the angels crossed my mind, those unseen beings that help us every day, that watch over and guide us, and intervene in sometimes startling fashion and yet remain for the most part unseen and unheard.
Had I never been on a plane it would be hard to be convinced that so much could be going on within the dot I observed flying through the sky. From my window seat when I fly I love to look down at the shoreline and houses over which we pass. Could those passengers the other day see me from their vantage point? Did they watch me soak up the sun or walk along the beach? Or did my presence escape them, reduced to a mere dot, like a grain of sand underfoot?
Perspective is everything. From afar things often look very different – small to the point of insignificant even. From God’s perspective above, our problems and challenges are all part of a grand landscape being painted with His master strokes. Nothing is too big for Him to handle.
Realizing that hundreds of people hurtling through the atmosphere can pass by me nearly unnoticed helps me to understand how my loved ones who have been taken from my sight can continue to exist in a real place, unseen and perhaps even right before my eyes. And those problems that loom so large in my life and in this world from the perspective of eternity will seem small and even disappear from view.
But do we need to wait for heaven to sort all our issues out? Will it take eternity before our very real problems and crosses are put into their proper place and perspective? For some things, perhaps. But changing our perspective can happen at any time. Talking to a priest, a spiritual director, a counselor, or a coach can often help us see things in a different way, a better way, especially when we take a spiritual or eternal view of our earthly problems. When we’re up too close we can’t see the big picture. God’s ways are not our ways and muddling through life without the graces and wisdom only He can impart through His Holy Spirit leaves us handicapped and stuck in a perspective that may not reflect reality at all.
Just think, in all likelihood no one on that plane saw me, but I was there. I was watching…and wondering and praying that God would bless them and bring them safely to their destination. How many unseen angels and saints might be watching and praying for you right now? It’s something to think about.
Allison is also the Founder and President of www.CatholicTherapists.com, a nationwide network of dedicated Catholic therapists.
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