Exactly 8:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. Most college students are grabbing dinner before a long night of shots and awkward conversations at dorm parties. Or, they may be just about to get dressed for an upcoming frat party that is intended to celebrate the end of a long week and to distract from the hangover and the homework they will wake up to tomorrow morning. Me? I’m on a plane, one of the places in this world, or above this world, that I find solace. Airplanes remind me that there is more to this world than what college offers; they remind me that this world is vast, and I am determined to explore every inch of it.
After taking a twenty-minute snooze on the plane, I lift up my head from the hard plastic surrounding the window and glance out the glass. I see what looks to be the edge of the world.
Right below the plane’s wing, it’s pure darkness with pebbles of yellow and orange scattered across the night. There are patches of clustered light with haphazardly connected lines. The black blanket below only extends so far. Just beyond the tip of the plane’s wing, the black surface ends to be what looks to be the edge of the world. At the edge of the darkness, there is light.
The sky is a flame. The layer that peaks just above the horizon is a deep, rich, orange, so vibrant only something as powerful as the sun can generate its magnitude and its beauty. Although it merely peaks above the black horizon, the color is strong, powerful, and determined to be seen. Just above the orange is a thin, light blue layer, the kind of vibrant blue that is almost white, like that of the center of a flame. It is so thin that it is easy to overlook, but it is there, and its pureness illuminates the sky. Its presence is small, softening the harsh orange. This white-blue fades into a deep navy. It is immense and intimidating, as daunting as the almost-black depths of the ocean.
As I rub my eyes to make sure that this sight is not my weary eyes playing tricks on me, I scrabble to grab a pen and paper to write this:
Things don’t make sense. Nothing makes sense in this world. This world is chaotic, hurtful, frightening, painful, overwhelming. This world is pure chaos. We all don’t know what we are doing. We don’t know what we are feeling, or if we are supposed to feel these things or why are we feeling these things. Each of us has no idea if we are on the “right” path, or if we are pursuing the “right” dreams, or loving the “right” person. We are constantly trying to decipher which decisions, which careers, and which people will guarantee us safety, security, happiness, love, affection, and everything else we desire.
However, we will never know; we will never have the concrete answers we are craving. And actually, that’s okay. If anything, that’s exactly how it should be. If we knew the plan, if we had a set path to follow, then what’s the point of going through all of it? What’s the point of learning from every person you meet, or feeling every emotion this life has to offer? What would be the point of any of it?
A sight this beautiful beyond my airplane window reassures me that this is exactly how it is supposed to be; we are supposed to be confused, lost and questioning, because that reminds us that this thing we call “life” is a chaotic and splendid adventure.
This beauty of this skyline reminds me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that I am a part of something bigger than we all can imagine. I don’t know what, or how, but I see something as powerful and gentle as this skyline and I am comforted in knowing that there is so much more in this world.
A lot of people dread airplanes. However, airplanes are symbols of adventure. They remind us that there is so much in this world to experience and we are all lucky enough to do it. We are lucky enough to participate in the chaos and confusion that is life, so why not start with accepting the fact that we don’t know everything, and being completely okay with it. Isn’t that the point of it all?