Lessons from the Aisle Seat

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I recently went to Frankfurt, Germany to work in a coach’s convention for the German Football League. The time there was an incredible experience and it was such a blessing developing relationships. This was my second football trip overseas and the travel requires a major adjustment with a plus seven-hour time difference. My flight from Atlanta was to leave at 5:30 PM and was to arrive in Germany at 8:30 AM. You are encouraged to sleep as much as possible on the flight, which is difficult because of your excitement to arrive. When I am trying to sleep, my knees are stuck against the seat and I seem to always get hit by passengers or the service cart going down the aisle. In these times I am envious of the first class section and how they can just stretch out with added comfort. You seem to constantly adjust, realign your body, and try to avoid neck pain to get periodic rest. Once you finally arrive you are encouraged to clean up, start your day over, and stay awake until night-time. Once the first day is complete, my body should have re-acclimated to the new time zone. If I do not accomplish these tasks, I will not be my best for the people I am serving on the trip. By the end of the week I am finally comfortable and then it is time to come back home. On the return trip, I was totally exhausted and prepared to repeat the process for everyone back home. I was so ready to just get in the air and fall fast asleep. Once I was on board and seated, an announcement was made for a possible maintenance delay. This possible delay turned into waiting in my seat for four hours until our flight was cancelled. We were instructed to exit the plane and to board buses. We would eventually have to return at 4 am the next day to restart the process of returning home. Needless to say, I was a little cranky and irritated as I exited the plane. However, before I boarded the bus I turned to see the size of this airplane and the window in my seating area. The sun was beginning to set and it created a whole new mindset and sense of thinking. I quickly snapped a picture of this interesting and beautiful setting. I thought to myself how everything happens for a reason and what an ironic analogy this visual matches on our life’s journey…  3 Key Points came to mind as I remembered my experience on board, looked at all the windows, and viewed the people exiting this massive machine.

  1.  My experience on board…. I love flying and the service has always been outstanding and professional in my eyes, so please do not take these comments out of context. However, I do experience the envy of the amenities seen in 1st class seating. You are really just jealous of the extra comfort that is received for such a long journey. Meanwhile your knees are stuck on a seat and can never seem to be at complete peace. Social media can do this same thing to each of us in today’s society. We can become envious of the status that we see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…  This creates a false reality of our lives and we can become fixated on what we seemingly don’t possess. No matter our current seat in life we each have our own challenges, adversities, and neck pains. In our minds, we may be seeking a status that owns a perception of comfort or peace. In reality, true growth personally or professionally never operates in a comfort zone. To experience consistent growth on this life journey we must get comfortable in being uncomfortable. We are each having to constantly adjust to be the best for those in our lives. People are counting on us and we cannot serve with our eyes fixated on the perceived status of others.
  2. Airplane windows…. Once I found my aisle window toward the back of the plane, I could not help but notice the line of windows leading to the door. On the plane each aisle window only gives a limited view of the outside.  The limited view resonates with each of us as we work and seek a greater purpose. We can question what we are doing, feel stuck in circumstances, and possibly wallow in issues. We cannot seem to get past that single pane of glass and see the greater picture. Through out my career, I have grown to understand that each window of life prepares you for the next. There are many windows and none are by accident if you are following your calling. I have also learned that you will not be prepared for the next window unless you completely commit and honor the current situation. Each aisle has a growth process that is necessary for us to see the whole picture. My aisle was also filled with other people besides little ole me. This is a great reminder that every window also offers an opportunity to positively impact people in this world. The people in your aisle of life are sitting there for a reason and are counting on you each day. I want to encourage you to maximize the current seat, have faith, and continue to be obedient. We may not always understand the bigger picture and that is okay. Each window is going to provide a new experience, a new opportunity for impact, and growth to prepare us for the future. The journey is beautiful if we will maximize our aisle and take time to enjoy each view. Always remember that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1
  3. The plane and exit…. Before boarding the buses; the sight of the plane, all of the people, and a sunset topped off my thoughts. I remembered going from the back of the plane to the front in order to exit. I passed by every window and thanked the crew before going down the stairs. There will come a time in my career and life that I will get off the plane. The journey will be over and I want to know that I worked for a much bigger purpose. There were many people on board with me for this trip.  Everyone getting off that plane represented all we will have influenced in each window of life. Statistics show that we will interact with 80,000 people in our lifetime. I want our impact to improve lives by our example and relationships. I want them walking out better, proud, difference makers, confident, and with a smile on their face. I hope and strive to leave a legacy that creates a cycle of excellence for years to come. We do not get to see the whole picture until we get off the plane. When looking back I want to know that I maximized each window of time, impacted for a greater purpose, and with a sunset in the final picture. When I shake that final hand, I want to know that I did my very best with my life opportunity. 

In this journey of life we are all on some type of ride. We can get so lost in our current seat or perception of life status. Understand there is a huge and awesome journey ahead for us if we will not give up, be great in our seat, be great for those in our aisle, and live for a greater purpose. Always remember that each window prepares you for the next window… When you get off that plane you are going to be proud of your life’s work… And always remember that each window has a view so don’t forget to enjoy it!

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ Matthew 25:21

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4 thoughts on “Lessons from the Aisle Seat

  1. Once again great job. The way u tell explain the message is so on point. Never thought of our journey that way. Appreciate your positive words and encouragement.

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  2. Great words, Adam. Thanks for sending…and thanks for sharing your perspective. Always uplifting and encouraging. I love this…

    “No matter our current seat in life we each have our own challenges, adversities, and neck pains. In our minds, we may be seeking a status that owns a perception of comfort or peace. In reality, true growth personally or professionally never operates in a comfort zone. To experience consistent growth on this life journey we must get comfortable in being uncomfortable. We are each having to constantly adjust to be the best for those in our lives. People are counting on us and we cannot serve with our eyes fixated on the perceived status of others.”

    My Best,
    Jason

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  3. Coach, This article is tremendous!
    I’m reminded of Gods handiwork when He made the flowers. As simple as it may sound, flowers do not compete to out bloom the other flowers next to them. The flower just does it’s own part, to bloom it’s very best where it happens to be planted. And as a result, someone will alway comment and want to get closer.
    In a sense , the flower on this earth , is like the attitude of the heart. There is an aroma and a beauty about a person of excellence and commitment.
    Intentiinal effort to be the person God made us to be, becomes a journey that carries us toward our purpose , that makes the difference in the lives we live.
    Coach, your writing this week offers conviction and encouragement , to be a better person. Thank you Sir !

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