Monday, December 27, 2010

To Melt

Have you ever observed people who take smoke breaks?  I have a pretty good view from my office window of the area where the smoker's from the office building congregate to light up.  Most of the time it annoys me.  I think of healthcare costs, how smokers effect group rates and hinder the progress of wellness plans. 

However, there are those days when I remove my attention from my computer screen and I watch as a stranger exits the building, shoulders high, neck tight, face strained.  He leans against the side of the brick building and digs in his pocket for a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.  I can tell he's trying to be patient but his fingers fumble the pack and the lighter in anticipation for the fix.  Next, he slips the end of a cigarette inside the very outside edge of his lips and lights the end of the cig.  He breathes in heavilyand quickly, holds his breath and slooooowwwwwlllllyyyyyy releases the smoke.  And he melts.  His shoulders, neck and face relax.  He stands up a little taller and no longer leans on the building seemingly defeated.

It's days like this, when I take it all in that I think if not for the health risks and obvious addiction issues, I would be a smoker.  In a perfect world, that little nicotine filled cylinder would just help you melt.  It wouldn't cause cancer or emphysema or birth defects and it wouldn't smell terrible or cause you to age and wrinkle more quickly.  It would just allow you to leave your desk for 15 minutes every 3 1/2 hours to melt away the stress.

I am jealous of smokers.  It's as if in this culture you have to have a vice in order to get a break.  They get breaks in addition to a 30 minute to 1 hour lunch and two 15 minute breaks.  Anytime they have the need to get their fix, they can walk outside for an additional 15 minutes and release their day with the smoke.

While this may seem like I am supporting cigarette addiction, I am not.  It's just one of those things I think about on days when the work day seems never-ending, when employment law is so extreme that a small business just can't win, when employees take advantage of the kindness of a God fearing company and when the negative emails about benefits, salaries, time off, ergonomic chairs and what brand of coffee we should buy for the breakroom keep rolling in.

Later, I usually see one of my case studies, who earlier in the day I was jealous of, leave the building for the day.  We walk in close proximity to our cars and he suddently stops to hack-ack-AAACK-huhrgle-ugh, his throat gurgling with phlegm and who knows what else.  A handsome 30 something man who sounds like a monster and who, in a few years, will look much older than his years.  And then the appeal has worn off and I think about what I could do to release the day, besides pray, of course. 

Today, one of my brothers invited me to dinner and a movie.  That sounds more fun than smoking a cigarette and I'm sure by the end of the night my face won't look so strained and I can start fresh tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Soul is in the Sky

My soul is in the sky.

— William Shakespeare, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Act V. Scene I.

The most beautiful place I have ever been is the sky.  I can only visit incased in winged, metal objects but until I have the ability to hover or fly independently without science and man-made objects, a plane is perfectly fine with me.

As soon as the wheels of the plane leave the runway, I feel like I can breathe deep, full breaths and the weight on my heart is lifted.

I feel God love me when I'm in the sky.  It's like He's saying or showing me, "I created this for you:  the discovery of flight, the ability, the science behind it.  I created it's intricacies and vulnerabilities and it's magic...for you....because I knew you would love it."

And I do.  I love the pressure in my ears as the plane ascends and descends.  I love looking down at the earth as the flat lands turn to hills and the hills into snow covered mountains.  I love seeing the organized layout of farm land turn into the organized chaos of a city and peering down at little tiny cars carrying little tiny people and wondering what they do, where they are from and if they know that someone is wondering about them.  I love the turbulence and fog, the lightning and the way the sun illuminates the lakes and oceans.

Maybe it is conceited of me to think that God created flight just for my personal enjoyment, just as a reminder to me during my busy, hectic life that He loves me, but that's what I believe.  I believe that He gave the knowledge to people who could execute the science behind it just so that a girl born in the 1980's would be able to enjoy it when she reached her 20's. 

There is no sport equal to that which aviators enjoy while being carried through the air on great white wings.
— Wilbur Wright, 1905.

It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky, Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears.
— Helen Keller, at age 74, on flight around the world, news reports of 5 February 1955.

Even before [we] . . . had reached 300 feet, I recognized that the sky would be my home. I tumbled out of the airplane with stars in my eyes.
— Geraldyn Cobb, regards her first flight, piloted by her father when she was 12 years old