Last night we were flying from Boston to Phoenix. I was intently watching the BYU-Utah debacle when my EC tapped me on the shoulder. Outside, Mother Nature was putting on a show.
Our flight had been diverted around a storm, and from our side of the plane we had the perfect vantage point to watch. Flash after flash of lightning lit the sky. It was beautiful, and impressive. Majestic. What made it especially cool was that we were with above the flashes or parallel to them. I had never witnessed lightning from above. Attempts at recording it were futile, as my phone just wanted to focus on the window, but you need to take my word for it – it was spectacular.
The pilot didn’t point it out, and, as far as I could tell, nobody else was peering out their window. It was just a special treat for me and my EC. Which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the “other” Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie, “Joe vs. the Volcano.” Meg’s character Patricia says this:
“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.”
I don’t do amazement often enough.
Last night was an exception. After watching the dramatic lighting show, I turned back to my football game and was again amazed. I was watching the BYU game LIVE, on a small screen in the seatback in front of me, as it was being beamed from a satellite to our airplane that was cruising throughout the sky at 500mph. Seriously?
Then I was amazed at the two “targeting” penalties, but that is not the kind of “amazement” I am referring to here.
Suddenly everything was amazing to me. The fact that hundreds of people were hurtling through the air in a metal tube. The fact that it can even get off the ground. The fact that we had the ability to show such faith and trust.
I was amazed at the beauty we had witnessed in Maine the past week. Case in point:
I was amazed at the lady working at the lobster shack when she asked me “Why on earth would you come here for a vacation?” I was amazed at when she said she had always wanted to go to…wait for it…Arizona. What? Funny what we go searching for. I was amazed at how tasty a lobster roll can be.
The love of my life has loved me for 30 years, If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is. I’m amazed by how fast time goes. I’m amazed at the goodness and depth of my family. I’m amazed God trusts me with them.
I am amazed at how big the world is, and how many people there are. I am amazed at how blessed I am to be alive when and where I am.
Sure, I could just as easily been worried about hurtling through the air, or thinking about flying out of Boston Logan on the day before the 9/11 anniversary. I could focus on how uncomfortable the seats were. (But after last week’s adventure, I wasn’t complaining.)
Instead, I enjoyed my flash of amazement. If anything, I should make a conscious effort to do it more often. Positive amazement is wrapped around the ideas of humility and gratitude – perhaps a reflection of both.
“I Stand All Amazed” is one of the great hymns for a reason. It resonates with us as we grapple with what is most serious and most important – and also most difficult to understand. The Atonement of our Savior is vastly more amazing that TV on an airplane.
As I am sitting here typing this, I have been watching my fingers – not because I need to, but it is fascinating to see how fingers and hands work – and how by pressing on these little keys, letters pop up on my screen that form words, then sentences, then paragraphs. Those paragraphs become a post, and as if by magic, the thoughts in my head are now spread throughout the world to anyone who wants to read them. Amazing.
Next time you have a free moment. I invite you to have a flash of amazement. It’s good for the soul.