by Matt Ness
Matt is the Director of Eyes that See, a small organization that is passionate about seeing God’s Kingdom at work here on earth. They dream of children, families, and communities reflecting God’s image and radiating His love. They do most of their work in Ethiopia. I love what they do — exposing the worth of women, children, and families all around the world.
Just a few hours ago, my second oldest son Carter and I left our house and got on a plane for a little adventure together in the woods near Portland. I’m not really a woodsy guy, but with four boys I feel a moral obligation to give them a few memories of woodsy-like adventures with their dad.
When we got to the airport, I quickly went into “I fly enough mode.” I felt annoyed by security, while Carter was hoping he would set off the alarm. “It would be fun,” he said. I smiled and realized how much I live on autopilot. I knew it then that this week would be good for me as he helps me re-frame life a bit.
We hadn’t had breakfast, so I let him choose, which meant sandwiches from Quiznos and refreshers from Starbucks. I thought that was an extra five bucks and fifty steps, but Carter is my Mr. Wendell this week, and I have some life to learn.
When we got on the plane just a little while ago, Carter couldn’t have been more excited. He talked to everyone, somehow found three people he knew, and learned about the life of the woman next to him. I feared he would come across like Buddy the Elf, but I think he’s just a happy kid who is extra polite. When we took our seats I asked if he wanted to take a book out. He did, but he looked like he didn’t know what to do with a book. I realized that simply staring out the window is sometimes the best option. Usually I only do that when I can’t sleep.
Carter is going to teach me a lot this week.
Have you ever tried to hold your breath for the entire takeoff? I didn’t quite make it, but Carter said he did. (I’m sure his nostrils were moving.) What struck me most was how we both responded when we got up in the clouds. Carter and I had completely different responses to feeling safe.
I felt like the flight was secure, so my mind instantly raced to things that weren’t secure.
How will this camp go? Are my messages what they want? Will people like me?
Who should I call to fix the washing machine? Why do things always break before I leave?
How do I better help our friends in Ethiopia? Am I missing something?
I thought through one thing after another for the next few minutes. Carter’s reaction to feeling secure in the airplane was completely different than mine. He savored it like a good meal. Here are the things he actually said:
“Isn’t it amazing that the sky is all around us!”
“The clouds are like waves!”
“The wings are so bendy!” (Which stole any security the adults around us were feeling.)
I’m reminded today how much of a gift my son is. The thing I love most about these last few hours is that Carter isn’t five. He’s almost thirteen. He’s full of life, wonder, and whimsy. It’s not his first flight; he just loves airplanes, basketball, adventures, and a couple million other things.
I meant to blog about Ethiopia and the actual lives of our friends there. Instead, Carter put an ear bud attached to his video game in my ear so I can enjoy it with him.
I guess in my real life I’m a dad of five learning to see the invitations everywhere, including on a plane ride to Portland. I’m guessing many of you are like me: we’re learning to embrace the adventures that we encounter. My twelve year-old instructor just told me about our next adventure. I thought it was called a flight after a layover. He re-framed it for me:
“On our next flight let’s sit in the back and ride with our arms up!”
Matt Ness is the Director of Eyes that See, a small organization that is passionate about seeing God’s Kingdom at work here on earth. They dream of children, families, and communities reflecting God’s image and radiating His love. You can follow Matt on twitter here and read his blog here.