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Bird’s-Eye View

The Guideposts executive editor on how a picture inspired his view on life.

Maybe this should be classified under: Be careful what you wish for.

Or it could be: Thank God for the Internet.

I was sitting at my desk on a glum day in my office, feeling a little glum myself and wishing for some escape when “ping” went my computer, telling me another piece of email was in my inbox. “Probably more junk mail,” I might have muttered to myself or at least, “Grrrrrrr, one more thing to do.” Since I am eminently distractable, naturally I looked to see who the email was from. Ah, it was my brother Howard.

Howard, I should tell you, is a helicopter pilot and occasionally flies photographers on gigs to take snapshots airborne. I am of slightly queasy stomach so I don’t envy his flights, but I sure envy his bird’s-eye view. I opened the email. There it was, a picture of the California coastline, taken from the air, everything looking perfectly pristine. The water, the waves, the houses, the roads, the surfboards.

“That’s just what I need,” I told myself, “a bird’s-eye view to my problems so they’d all shrink into proportion.” I half-wondered what it would be like to look at my life from that sort of height. A little like watching someone parallel park from the air. All those false attempts would be so obvious from up there. 

So for just a moment, looking at that picture, I tried a bird’s-eye view of my life. It looked okay. Maybe not as pristine as the waves at Malibu, but full of movement and crests and valleys and rides that would look smooth from above. I could count myself lucky.

“That was great!” I emailed Howard. A great flight with no queasy stomach at all.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.

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