This past weekend, I was able to travel to Minnesota, to be a sponsor to my oldest niece as she became Confirmed. It was a beautiful ceremony at the Basilica in Minneapolis. The whole visit was enjoyable. I have never seen my older brother's home (although they have been there about 15 years - shame on me!), which is in a gorgeous neighborhood around a lake. Of course the best part was just being with my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and nieces. I even got to see my 12-year-old niece, Grace, perform in a choir concert and a piano recital!
The not-so-fun part? The flights there and back! Both involved a good amount of turbulence (which makes me ill), and both were affected by storms. We arrived in Minnesota in between thunderstorms (that eventually brought tornadoes) and we came back home hours before big storms (that dropped 8 tornadoes!).
As we were bouncing along the jetstream, I was thinking about what we would look like from the ground. I live close to a regional airport, and only about 30 or 40 minutes from the big airport, so we see plenty of planes around our house. They glide gracefully through the sky.
Or at least they look graceful from the ground, and they look like they are gliding from thousands of feet away. But sitting in my bouncing airplane this weekend, I pondered on the fact that things are not always what they seem. What looks like a smooth ride from a distance, can in reality be bumpy turbulence.
Sometimes we look at our lives, and we know the turbulence we experience on a daily basis - what crosses we carry, what vices we fight, what heartaches we bear. In between smooth stretches of peace, we are jostled by the disturbances we experience, wondering if it will smooth back out or if this time will be the time we go into a tailspin.
Looking at the lives of others can become a distraction. We wish we could have a life like that (that easy, that successful, that well-off, that fulfilling, that you-name-it). Some people seem to have it so easy, don't they.
Every life has a story. Every heart has its burdens. Every person is touched by tragedy and difficulty of some kind. No one ever gets a smooth ride in life, from beginning to end. There will always be turbulence. Even if it is not noticeable to others.
Just remember, next time you start to wish for someone else's life - go out and watch a few planes!