The sea above us

Published 10:02 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

Sunday night, I was standing outside my church with the youth pastor, when an airplane flew overhead. We both admired how cool we think airplanes are, but he offered a different perspective.

He said he loves being underwater; he could live in a submarine if he didn’t feel so claustrophobic in there. And, looking up at the plane flying through the stars, he said, “It’s like the sky is one big ocean.”

It’s like airplanes fly through the sea above us, like whales swimming through their ocean.

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That was just a week ago, so now picture it: summer of 2016. I’m in that same parking lot under that same ocean of sky, and I’m seventeen years old. My youth group was none other than a band of teenagers who laughed together and cried together and loved each other and sometimes hated each other.

As a teenager, I used to wonder how these life phases would end, and how these friendships were doors that were open then and would close eventually. I wondered what the ending would be, and looking back on it, those moments were just a mist. We were but a breath, and then gone, grown up, twenty-three and still laughing and crying and loving, but with different people.

So there I was, in the parking lot when I was seventeen, and, like all teenagers at some point, I was experiencing a bit of heartbreak about a boy. I sat on one of the swings at the playground, and my best friend sat beside me, hearing me out about how I thought everything happened for a reason. I was just sad because I didn’t know the reason.

My friend told me that the clock only moves forward; with time comes healing. And I realized that there’s no choosing your destiny; it’s already written, like the pages of a book following each chapter.

I never would have thought I’d lose those friendships or one day pop back into this youth group to see an entirely new generation of faces that I used to babysit.

It puts into perspective the idea that those moments as a kid are just like a warm breath on a cold morning––a puff of mist, and then on to a new breeze. . . a few years in between seventeen and now, and generations passed.

Today, those old friends from my youth group have spread apart. Some have gone on to have children of their own. Some have moved off. Some have passed away. 

Then flash forward, and I’m back under the stars with my youth pastor, watching the airplane disappear behind the tree line.

“Isn’t that somethin’,” he said. 

I nodded and went home with the thought: the ocean doesn’t belong to whales, the sky doesn’t belong to airplanes. Our fate doesn’t belong to us; we belong to our fate.

And now, for the rest of our destiny.