The view from outside a plane window

Our airplane sped east toward St. Louis, leaving behind the sun and palm trees of Phoenix for the snow of the Midwest I had left only days earlier.

I looked out my window.

The 737 held me suspended miles above ground, well beyond the layer of clouds that covered the earth like a blanket.

Losing an hour mid-flight, darkness came quicker than normal.

I snapped this photo as the last rays of sunlight reached us. The golden glow of the setting sun’s final rays met a blue-gray haze as day turned to night, darkness enveloping light.

Soon, I could no longer see the clouds below or the sky above. All that remained visible was the steady blink of the light on the plane’s wing. It was night.

It’s been a few days now since I took the photo, but the image has stuck with me.

As I write this, I sit cuddled under a blanket watching snow and freezing rain pelt the earth. The day is gray and dreary. My car is covered in a sheet of ice. It’s cold. Frigidly cold. The sun did not shine today, and I ask myself, ‘ Where is the light on days like this?’

I speak metaphorically, of course.

Today marks the two-year anniversary of a Royals pitcher’s passing. Today, Twitter tells me a teenager lost her life in an icy crash. And on this day that the sun didn’t shine, I’m reminded again that life can be hard. For me, this time of year can be especially hard when the physical darkness of winter translates to another darkness, felt not seen.

I’d venture to guess many of us have dark days, days where clouds hover low, tears linger close to the surface and summer is but a distant memory. We sit huddled beneath the weight of the world, and wonder, just where is the light.

I think of the picture I took from the plane. It speaks of contrast. Of light and dark. Of laughter and optimism and hope on one hand, of a dark and painful cynicism on the other. On any given day, we all probably land somewhere along that spectrum.

We’re all fighting unseen battles, and I remind myself to be kind to myself and others. After all, we’re all just flying toward our destination.

In 2019, I want to make it my goal to make my corner of the world just a little bit brighter. I can’t take the pain away, but I can sit with others in their pain. I can’t make things better, but I can be better at showing up and being present. I can speak a whisper of hope, bring a glimmer of light, share a reminder that not all days are dark. The sun will shine again.

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