On the ride to the airport, I couldn’t stop looking up. I was bewildered by the fact that I was going to be in the sky. Feelings of adventure and discovery bubbled up in me, feelings I haven’t felt since I was a child. My friends laughed at my giddiness.

We were going on a mission trip to Spain. It was going to be my first mission trip. My first time out of the country. My first time on a plane. We were supposed to go from Pittsburgh to New York to Barcelona, but it didn’t work out that way. Our original flight was canceled. Instead of my first flight being a state away, it was a continent away. We were flying from Pittsburgh to Paris.

As we boarded the plane, my friend Johnny handed me a piece of gum. “Just chew it, trust me.” Waiting for takeoff was torture. Anticipation grew. I was going to fly. At long last, we moved. The plane inched towards the runway, as my excitement grew. We left the earth and reached the sky. As I was having a deep spiritual moment, most of the other passengers had already started their movies.

I couldn’t sleep. Glee kept me awake. My gaze was fixed out the window, into the black nothingness. I looked down, the Atlantic Ocean underneath. Before I knew it, the sun began to rise. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life. For two hours I sat looking out the window, observing every change of light. The tops of clouds in colors I had never seen before. The ocean churning beneath us. The sun rising over nothing. Everything just was.

Peace overcame me as I observed a beauty I never experienced.