Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What a View!

I have had a couple of different days lately ... days that are out of my usual routine ... days that have shaken up "my typical day".  Anytime that I get to do a little something that is out of the norm, I come back with a little bit better perspective about my usual life.  While these two experiences couldn't possibly be more different than each other ... they both served to freshen me up a bit and brought with them a greater appreciation for my life, too.

My first "out of the norm" experience was last Thursday when I headed to the Justice Center to do my civic duty.  That's right:  Jury Duty.  Now, I'm probably a little bit odd in that I don't really mind jury duty. I served on a jury in Greeley when I was pregnant with Aaron and it was truly an eye-opening experience. The case I served on was a rather mild case and, of course, I was grateful that it wasn't relating to anything too horrible.  But, all in all, it was fascinating to see the legal justice process in action.  So, when I received my summons a few weeks ago, aside from the inconvenience of "what to do with the kids?", it was fine.  As I said, apparently I would be in the minority with that point of view.  While I sat in the jury lobby area, all I heard was griping and groaning from pretty much everybody else there.  And it didn't get better as the morning progressed.  If you have ever had to report for jury duty and sit through the selection process, you know that it is tedious and lengthy.  It wasn't until noon that we, the un-chosen jurors, were excused.  As I walked out of the Justice Center, the grumbling and mumbling continued.  Now ... how could this truly refresh me?

Well ... for one thing, it wasn't me on trial! :)  But for another, it was good for me to step out into the "real world" and see how your average Joe's and Jane's see life.  And the Joe's and Jane's I met last week have lives that are significantly different than mine.  Now, I readily admit that I live a sheltered and protected life.  I have a circle of people that I regularly interact with and locations that I visit on a regular basis.  Seeing as I don't often step out of those comfort zones, I find that I lose touch with the rest of the world.  It was good for me to be reminded of what life is like for other people, some underprivileged and some who have made tough choices in life and have painful consequences as a result and some who are just like me ... but perhaps lacking that critical foundation in Jesus.  And it was good for me to have my eyes opened again to the needs of our community ... the need to see Jesus lived out in the lives of believers through compassion, understanding and plain old friendship.  I hope I was able, in just a small way, to be an encouragement to one of those other 20 jurors, with a smile, a friendly comment or just by holding the door open.

Now my other out of the ordinary experience was on an entirely different level ... at a different altitude, you might say. :)  I enjoyed a little time away this weekend down with my sister and mom:  we were crafty (both tactile and technical), we ate well and we laughed a lot.  Just my kind of weekend!  I had a project for Norah's birthday that we worked on (pictures to come!) and we worked on iMovie putting together a slide show for my mom's work.  And through all that, I loved just having the time to talk and be heard.  Thanks, ladies!

But the "high" light of the weekend that gave me a fresh perspective came on Sunday morning ... at 10,000 feet and at 160 mph.  What a ride!  We flew in a little 4-seater Cessna up over Montrose and beyond ...

Outside the Black Canyon Jet Center

Ready for take-off ... just a little excited! :)

I truly had no expectations for this little trip, so imagine my surprise when I hear the pilot say, "We're going to head down this way toward Ouray."  Eeek!  We flew over Silver Jack Reservoir and enjoyed seeing the colors in the trees and scrub oak ... from an entirely different view!  We flew between the Cimarron Mountains ... who knew that the range we see from the road is actually two ranges that run parallel to one another?  Then we flew over Ouray and up towards Mt. Abram.  From that height, even the Million Dollar Highway looked tame.  Strange how that from that altitude, the topography of the mountains looks different, even flat.  Then we banked around and headed back toward Ridgway ... flying alongside the San Juan Mountains ... and my favorite peak:  Mount Sneffles.  Snow-capped and beautiful!  Then it was time to head back to land, but not before flying over Montrose and spotting Allison's house, the Black Canyon Gymnastic center when Norah competed and the hospital where I was born.  From above we also saw the Aquatic Center where we spent a good amount of time during swim season and the field where we watched Aaron's first Fourth of July fireworks ... actually, from the van.  It was fun to pick out all the spots we recognized from our travels there upon the ground!  After we landed, we all had these goofy smiles on our faces and we were limited to one-sylable responses:  "Wow", "My" and "Huuffff".  What a thrill!  It was certainly a once in a lifetime tour of, as we said, our  "backyard".

Painted Wall of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

We get so used to seeing our world from the hum-drum perspective of the day-to-day that it's easy to forget the big picture!  From that plane we could see the order of the city blocks and the patch-work quilt patterns of the farms.  From that plane we could see the effects of a river as it cut through the Black Canyon and the trickling run off that marked the dunes outside of Montrose.  From that plane we saw our little, fleeting shadow dance over the golden trees and the centuries old monolith standing unaffected by time.  From that plane we saw sheep run along the crest of a hill (little grains of rice moving together) and a lone boat sitting still and unmoving in the middle of the reservoir.  From that plane I got a glimpse of God's view of our world ... except that He is also able to see into each home and each heart.  He has the big picture as well as the intimate view of our lives.

Chimney Rock ... from the other side
I hope that these two experiences will stay in my head and heart for a bit:  The need to care for the people around me whether I know them or not, click with them or not, have shared interests or not; and appreciating that God's creation is both vast (the world) and particular (me).  The God of the universe, the Creator of this amazing "backyard" is also the Lover of you and me.  Now that's a great perspective!

Mt. Sneffles ... from 10,000 feet

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