The Miracle of Flight

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A couple of days ago, we returned from a wonderful vacation in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We arrived at the Cancun airport for our return flight home, only to discover it had been delayed, as with every other flight to Atlanta, due to the adverse weather conditions across north Georgia. The airport was crowded, with impatient, weary travelers all sitting around with their faces in their phones, dragging luggage around, complaining about the delays, or self-medicating with alcohol.

I’ve been flying my entire life, having grown up an “airline brat”, so flight, needless to say, is routine to me. And yet, standing by a large glass window overlooking the take-off runway, I found myself fascinated, mystified even, by these massive commercial airliners, full of passengers, climbing skyward every few minutes. I stood transfixed, like a child again, contemplating the modern miracle of flight.

I tell my History students every year, “God created humans intelligent, creative, and industrious.” For centuries, maybe since we first witnessed birds in flight, humans have dreamt of taking to the skies. After thousands upon thousands or years, just a little over 100 years ago, humans achieved just that.

We took to the skies.

How far we have come, from the days of the 1903 Wright Flyer, to the age of the 2017 Airbus A380. From the days of 100 yard flight on the beaches of Kitty Hawk, to my flights across the globe to Indonesia. In so few years, compared to the long scope of human history, man has taken flight, literally. And yet flying has become routine to us, like catching a bus, just with wings. The miracle of flight has been lost on us.

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As we (finally) flew home, our plane skirted around the massive storms covering north Georgia. Out my window seat I had an amazing view of the thunderheads, rife with electricity. The most astonishing storm I’ve ever witnessed, from 20,000 feet. Words cannot describe it, nor can photos capture it. Made possible by the age of the airplane, the miracle of flight.

May we never lose the wide-eyed wonder at the gifts of God, not the least of which is the ability to experience flight.

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