Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The "Plain" Truth

Year 4-Day 33: Today, I am grateful for airplanes! 

How have I missed this simple gratitude for so long?  Perhaps, we have been too long between trips. 

Think about it.  The ability to travel to far away places in hours or the span of a day. Crazy, isn't it.  What once took weeks or even months, now...is a day or 36 hours away at the most. Airplanes are a spectacular invention of modern man. 

The plain truth is that we four Smiths prefer flying over driving. We get more time at our destination. The big win is that we don't arrive at our destination already tired and return home completely exhausted. If all we had was time, we would enjoy the journey more, but things like work mean airplanes add grace to our days. 

Sometimes I forget only a few generations have enjoyed commercial flight.  The first recorded flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright took place on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  My Grandpa Lindgren was three years old at the time. 

The first commercial flight occured in the US.  January 1, 1914 from St. Petersburg, FL to Tampa, FL. for $400.  It was a two seater plane with a pilot and one paying customer in a Benoist XIV. 

By 1919, KLM began the first, truly commercial airline with flights between London and Amsterdam.  It is one the oldest carrier and is still in operation today. The Douglas DC-3 is called "the plane that changes the world" when American Airlines entered the scene with a commercial, non-stop flight from New York to Chicago.  In 1944, the Chicago Convention established rules for aircraft, airspace and safety.  

Airplanes make our lives easier.  I don't love to fly, but the plain truth is that I would rather fly than drive. Today, commercial flights can be scheduled in family emergencies and found at fabulous deals when a few seats are empty.  They connect us to far away family.  Carry mail and purchased items. Every day of our life, I am confident we use something that was delivered by air. 

The airplane became a new tool for mission work, too. The 1957 book "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot tells the real life story of Operation Auca. Five American missionary families including Jame Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCaully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian who used flight to reach the Huaorani tribe of easteren Ecuador. The story is powerful...and all five men died...but that was not the end of the story. The gospel took root in the jungle and souls found new life. Nate Saint's yellow plane and the story featured in Time magazine is still legendary. 

The airplane became a new tool in "the great commission":

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” --Matthew 28:19-20

Travel, convenience and mission work.  The airplane is a modern marvel that we take for granted, because it is common.  

Today, I am grateful for airplanes! 

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