Her Head in the Clouds

Hello again, loyal readers. This post is my first attempt to be a little philosophical, so bear with me if it sounds absurd or cliché. I’m working on it.

Anyway, I’ve found myself noticing the sky a lot lately (if you need proof of this, check out my Facebook cover photo). Every morning when I drive to work across the flat farmland that makes up the Thumb of Michigan, I find myself marveling at just how expansive the sky is. Wind turbines have been springing up throughout the area, and many people often remark on their immense stature – but does anyone ever notice the vastness of the sky? As I gazed at the horizon where the tips of the windmill blades brushed against the wispy bottoms of the clouds, I was struck at how the tall turbines were dwarfed by the towering fortress of clouds up above.

Every week, the news is peppered with stories of death and destruction. I’m not critiquing this – heck, I’m a journalist who strongly believes that news consists of the things that people deserve to know. But to me, the news is particularly adept at highlighting just how quickly things can change, and sometimes, how quickly things can turn into a disaster.

Perhaps this is one reason that my parents are wary of my plans to study abroad in England. Just this morning, my dad told me, “England is a dangerous place, isn’t it?”

I answered him: “Yes, it is, but so are a lot of other places.”

To tell you the honest truth, the idea of going to England does scare me a little bit – the only time I’ve ever been on a plane was when I was 8 years old, and frankly I wasn’t really paying attention to how the process works. Aside from that, I’ll be entirely alone, left to my own devices if something goes wrong. Mom and Dad won’t be a phone call away – they’ll be an ocean away, which is intimidating.

In other words, I’d be even smaller than that wind turbine beneath the clouds if any aspect of my careful planning was to go awry.

I remember a quote that goes something like this (and I apologize if I’ve discussed it before on cows2college): no matter what you do, you will never interrupt the world or seriously distress her. For me, there’s nothing quite like that quote that serves as a rude wakeup call – as if someone were shouting: “Your problems aren’t important, you’re insignificant!”

Indeed, the world will keep spinning without you, whether you want it to or not.

However, we could also read that quote in another, more comforting, way – no matter how badly you mess up, you can still start again, you still have another chance. No matter what you do, the world will keep spinning, leaving you free to do better next time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you feel insignificant or down on your luck, when you feel like that windmill beneath the clouds, the ball is in your court. You can either go into a hopeless self-destruct mode and give up, or you can look to the sky, trust in God, and try again.

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