The Rainbow Shield

Image by E. Mugglin

Image by E. Mugglin

It was August of 2006 and we were flying over Illinois in a brand new Boeing 777.  I was in a window seat with a view of the port engine that was mounted under the plane’s wing.  It was overcast below us, the cloud tops forming a smooth, white carpet as far as the eye could see.  The bright blue sky above our plane was streaked with wispy mare’s tail clouds.

The jet engine was massive.  If I could have stood on my toes inside the opening of that engine, I wouldn’t have been able to stretch up and touch its top.  It had been painted in a shiny, reflective metal finish.  I could hear the whine of its turbines and the roar of the air passing over the plane’s skin outside, but the only visible evidence that the engines were working was the slow, steady movement of the clouds sliding below us.

As I idly watched those clouds passing by, my eye was drawn back to the jet engine, and I realized with a start that I could see the reflection of our plane in its shiny surface.  The dark blue of the fuselage was there, as were all of the soft square window openings.  Moving my head slightly back towards my seat, I could see the nose of the plane.  Leaning forward, I could see the plane’s tail.  I could even see the reflection of the clouds passing below.

I was watching our plane fly.

I don’t know how long I played with that reflection, enjoying the out-of-body feeling of watching myself from a distance.  It was fun pretending that I was able to fly alongside the plane, just beyond its wing tip, watching it sail through the clear, cold air.

Then my eye saw something new: the shadow of our plane was visible on the clouds passing below us.  The cloud tops were so smooth, that our shadow barely rippled as it sped across their surface.

How fast we were moving!  Our shadow raced across the cloud tops.  Once again, I heard the roar of the passing air and I felt the vibrations from my seat, clear evidence that our plane was moving very fast.  I knew this as fact in the same way that I know the earth spins on its axis every 24 hours, but seeing evidence of that speed up close for the first time gave me a thrill.

Without moving an inch, I could shift my perspective from sitting comfortably in my seat to flying along side our plane to watching our progress over the clouds below simply by changing my focus.  I was in three places at the same time.

Then I saw something truly spectacular: we passed beneath some wispy clouds and a rainbow appeared, forming a perfect halo that surrounded our plane’s shadow.

It was like our plane flew in a protective bubble of rainbow light.  I could almost feel that light holding us up, like we were cupped in God’s own loving hands.  I felt safe, protected, and completely at peace.

The joy of that moment was too much for me to keep to myself.  I showed the man sitting next to me our rainbow shield below.  “Oh, that rainbow’s caused by the polarizing effect of the plastic in the windows,” he said.

Same planet, different worlds, I thought to myself.

Albert Einstein once observed, “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

It’s really as simple as that, we all have the power to choose.

But while the choice itself may be simple, making that choice is anything but easy.  Choosing changes everything.  It affects you and the way you view the world.  Consequently, it changes the world.

Harder still, choosing isn’t a one-time-only question or even a weekly planning question; it’s a continuous process.  Moment by moment, day by day we all make our choices, and the universe obligingly reflects back what we expect to see.  Many people don’t even realize they’re making a choice.

What about you?  How do you see life?  Are you looking for miracles in your life?  If you’ve read this far, it’s a pretty good bet that you are.  Please share your stories of life’s miracles in the comments below.


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