Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Plane Ride That Will Make You Think

Earlier this year, I heard a song on the radio that caught my attention.  At first, I really liked the melody and found myself turning up the volume when I heard it come on.  But when I realized I had no idea what the song was actually about, I listened closely to the words.  A wave of emotion came over me and I began to tear up.  The words revealed such a simple idea, yet most of us would never have the mindset to come up with it ourselves.  It got me thinking that there is so much in life that we just brush off as unimportant because we can’t see it or it doesn’t affect us, only to miss out on many of the truly glorious things in the world.  The song, “Fly Over States” by Jason Aldean, has changed my perception of so many things, and the words which have inspired me are as follows:

A couple of guys in first class on a flight
 From New York to Los Angeles
 Kinda making small talk killin' time
 Flirting with the flight attendants
 Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma  

Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms
 Man, it all looks the same
 Miles and miles of back roads and highways
 Connecting little towns with funny names
 Who'd want to live down there, in the middle of nowhere 

They've never drove through Indiana
 Met the man who plowed that earth
 Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me
 Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas
 They'd understand why God made
 Those fly over states

How many times have you thought the same thing while looking down at those squares of land as you flew above them?  How many times have you wondered what are they actually there for?  Or maybe you haven’t thought anything about them at all, but just passed them over without a care about what goes on down there.  It is so easy to become accustomed to our own little worlds and to only care about what directly affects us.  We take for granted all of the things which have been provided for us without having to do any work for them.  The roads we travel on, the food we buy at the grocery store, and the trains we take to go from one city to the next all have a history.  All of these things are here for us because people worked hard, perhaps harder than we can even imagine in today’s technology-driven world, in order to make it easier for everyone else.  Those farmers who run those square fields truly know what it means to work hard, not just because it benefits them but because it provides food for the rest of the country.

When we allow ourselves to see the broader scope of the things around us, we enable ourselves to appreciate what is truly meaningful.  It saddens me to know that the ones who are getting all the attention and glory in our country are the people such as actors, singers, reality TV participants (I refuse to call them stars!) and sports players who lead less than admirable lifestyles.  It is even more disappointing that these are the people kids look up to.  We need to change our focus and adoration to those who are the real superstars, the ones who contribute to the betterment of our country and care about the people who live in it.

Just because there is something we wouldn’t want to do ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it.  Some things in life may seem more stellar than others, but those things which might seem undesirable to one person could be another's pride and joy and purpose in life.  The next time you are on a plane ride across the Midwest, remember that all that land is where the food on your table begins.  Remember that the people who work hard on those farms are trying to make a living just the same as the business men in the city.  Remember that the beauty and productivity of our country comes not only from the things people have built in it, but also from the diverse landscapes which nature carved so long ago before we even knew it existed.  These gentle reminders, these lessons which allow us to see outside or own little worlds, are perhaps part of the reason “why God made those fly over states.”  

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