Monday, October 8, 2007

Learning to Fly

Amy and I got away this past weekend for some much-needed time for just the two of us. We went to the Outer Banks of NC. While we were there, we visited the Wright Brothers' Memorial at Kitty Hawk. This was my first trip to the memorial, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A couple of observations that I left with:

1) In recent weeks, I have found myself watching birds flying the air. I am enamored with this ability - the ability of flight. It probably goes back to my childhood fascination with comic books and super heroes. Anyway, I commented to Amy when we left the exhibit at Kitty Hawk how our experience of flying is so totally different from what the Wright Brothers experienced. When we get on a plane, there is little difference between riding on a plane and riding on a bus or a train (yes, except for a few thousand feet of elevation). Orvill and Wilbur, however, experienced flight out in the open elements. I am certainly thankful for progress, but there is a part of me that would love to have experienced flight as the Wrights did.

2) The Wright Brothers did not enjoy success until they proved wrong two commonly held assumptions about design. Only then were they able to get off the ground. As I read about that, I found myself saying, "There is a sermon in that somewhere." Still don't entirely know where it is yet, but the hypothesis I am working on at this point is as follows: Sometimes it is what we take for granted that keeps us from reaching the heights God has in store for us.

3) Do you know how long man's first flight lasted? 12 seconds, travelling 120 feet into a 35mph headwind. When I saw the markers, my first thought was, "Wow, that is not so impressive." However, as we began to walk along their flightpath, taking in the immensity of meaning and achievement of that 120 feet, I realized that the first 40 yards gave them the courage to try again - and go a little farther. Their fourth flight - 59 seconds, about 800 feet. Mankind kept going from there.