There's something about looking out the window of an airplane that puts things into perspective. The same can be said about attending a funeral. Today I did both.
At 11:00 pm last night I got some good and bad news. I had recently applied for a scholarship to a workshop across country that I REALLY want… no, NEED to attend. I found out that out of the 550 applications, I wasn't chosen. BUT, I had been one of the finalists. Just the thought that I was actually one of the finalists, put me over the moon. Though the workshop was already full, I'd been offered a spot at a discount and some other things to make it more viable for me. My thought was, "I have to go to this, but how am I going to make it happen?"
Falling asleep, which usually takes me just shy of 15 seconds after my head hits the pillow, was a rare challenge.
The thoughts, dreams, goals, to-do lists, strategies, ideas and all their permutations that I wrestled to sleep replayed again at 4:45 am when the alarm went off because today we were flying to Jacksonville for my uncle's funeral. My mind on the ride to the airport was filled with the same.
As the plane rose up and I watched the world shrink, so did the magnitude of my predicament. To see the vastness of the earth and reflect on all the possibilities and opportunities in it put things into perspective. We are all just ants at this picnic called life. Someone greater is in charge. And He has shown me time and again that He’s got my back. I thought, “I will find a way. This will work out. He put me here. He’s showing me I’m on the right track, but I need to step out on faith.”
My uncle’s funeral delivered another important lesson. I found my aunt shortly after we arrived, gave her a big hug and we fought back tears. I hadn’t grown up with Uncle Steve, (my aunt married him when I was in my 20s) but he made quite an impact on me. He made an impact on everyone he ever met. He was a man who embraced life and living, hard work and people. He was brilliant and witty. He and my aunt had quite an adventure together. Listening to person after person talk about his life was inspiring. Not just family members as you would expect, but grown men, crying openly at the loss of their great friend. Someone that challenged them, made them think and always made everyone feel good. Certainly no ordinary man.
I thought about my New Year’s resolution. This year I decided that I want to focus on how I make those around me feel and I want to make people feel good. I want them to leave my presence with a smile. I thought, “Why did one of the few people I know that truly embodies this idea die the same year I decided this? I could have learned so much from him.” As I reflected on his life and the outpouring of love and gratitude for him in the lives of those he left behind, I realized that I have learned a lot from him and this moment was an exclamation point from God, showing me again, “You’re on the right track.”
So here’s to my Uncle Steve, those who celebrate life and people, perspective, faith and to being on the right track. What a day!