I have mostly flown on large planes. Sure you are above the weather. Sure you get to where you are going more quickly. And certainly there is a bit of ease and mindlessness to the whole ordeal. You are patted and searched and given bad food then imprisoned for what could be a three hour flight or infinitely longer if the pilot is feeling mischievous. It is entirely out of your control.
My friend Scott invited me to take some pictures with him two weeks ago. This is not strange since Scott is a Photographer. We have done this several times. The difference on this occasion was that we were going to be in a small plane, a Cessna 172 to be exact. I had flashbacks to my favorite boyhood book, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and was a bit alarmed when we walked onto the runway and I had only a camera and my pocket knife, no hatchet in sight.
The plane was beautiful. There was no question when looking at it that this is the way something should be put together. Large planes are very cool, marvels of human invention. But this small piece of machinery effortlessly sailing through the clouds conjured images of its bi-winged ancestors braving the sky and seas and showers of artillery.
To the point: Below was wonderfully ordinary terrain. There were a number of pools I never would have know existed and the stone quarry looked as ravaged as you could imagine but never able to see while at ground level. It was a miniature man-made canyon with trucks coming by to eat it’s innards. The vertical images were exciting, allowing myself to place imaginary pins in the places Finnegan and I regular. The horizonal was perplexing however.
With a haze in the sky and storm clouds swelling–visibility was limited. We were not above the weather. We were not able to see into the geographical future. Which kept me focused on the beautiful dark clouds impossibly made of collected abstractions of moisture.
As you could guess it made me think about God’s leading to South Africa. Without effort my mind crammed a theological reality into this beautiful moment–a kind of moment that I would always contest should be savored instead of spiritualized or written about for that matter.
God’s vision extends well past the horizon. His eye captures every dimension of time and geography and our souls. When Tara and I have put our heads down and charged forward because we could not see beyond a haze filled horizon we had a Shepard who saw clearly where to go and how we would arrive.
The truth is that with “vision-casting” and always praying and working to determine what is next—I can rarely see what lies before me. I am thankful however for a sovereign God who sees way out in front so that I can just ride while he flys. Taking photos along the way.