I am writing from a plane that is stuck on a runway. It’s raining. Hard. I have a screaming baby behind me. Angry passengers surround me.

I have to be in Atlanta tonight to catch a plane home, but it’s not looking good.

We have been on this god-forsaken plane for an hour, waiting out a storm. People are fussy, children scream, a man barks at a flight attendant.

A pilot talks on the loudspeaker and says we will be grounded.

People boo. A few cuss. One man throws a rotten tomato at the cockpit.

No, I’m just kidding. It wasn’t rotten.

And we sit.

One hour.

Two hours.

Three hours.

The pilot intercoms again. He says that after three hours, the government mandates he take us back to the airport.

People boo again. More swearing. A few more rotten tomatoes.

Because the only thing worse than sitting on a plane with loud infants and people carrying exotic strains of deadly viruses would be going back to the airport and sleeping on the hard floor beneath a television that blares 24-hour news.

“Just great,” one man says.

“Well this sucks,” says the old woman behind me.

“$%&!” says the nun across the aisle.

I am texting my wife because it looks like I am not going to make it to Atlanta until tomorrow.

The pilot taxis back to the terminal. People moan. The storm is getting worse. The rain sounds like gravel on a shed roof. We’re finished.

But then…

At the last minute, the intercom dings. The captain says there is a slight break in the weather, and we are going to “give it a shot.”

Those are his exact words, which terrify the chicken salad out of me. You don’t ever want to hear “let’s give it a shot” uttered by your pilot, your dentist, your thoracic surgeon, or your tattoo artist.

Then again, anything is better than sleeping on the airport floor.

So people applaud, some cheer. The nun is whistling like she’s at a ball game. Even the screaming baby is giggling and filling his diaper with glee.

Here we go.

The engines roar. The plane rolls forward. In a few seconds, liftoff.

Soon, we are riding through dark clouds and storms. Thunder. The rain hits hard. No visibility. Then, in one moment, the storm disappears. And I just wish you could see what I’m seeing from my window seat.

We are miles above the earth. We are above the storm.

The sky is no longer dark but it’s blue. The clouds are golden, kissed by sunlight. It’s magnificent. If I didn’t know any better, I would think I was trapped within the opening credits of “Highway to Heaven” starring Michael Landon and Victor French. I can’t believe this beauty was above us the whole time.

People applaud again. We have exited Hades simply by flying through it, entering something that looks like the primetime-TV version of the afterlife.

And even better, we are going to make it to Atlanta tonight.

I can’t help but feel a swell of emotion about this. Because there is a metaphor here somewhere.

When I was a boy my broken family went through some dark times. Cloudy times. I don’t want to talk about it here, because it’s not happy stuff. But during childhood the world went gray.

As a boy, I truly felt as though the color had been sucked out of the world. Even today, when I try to recall my childhood, I cannot bring up a single vivid blue sky in my memory. Not one. It’s all gray and blah.

I suppose if you would have asked me then I would have told you that there were no such things as pretty clouds, or colorful sunsets, or smiling people, or applause on airplanes, or the happy face of a baby when he releases a deadly aroma into the recycled air of a pressurized aircraft cabin.

But that was then, and this is now.

Now, I see clouds from the topside. Now I know the sky is actually blue above the storms.

There is a particular cloud beneath our plane. Everyone is looking at it. The cloud looks alive, with wings. It moves back and forth like it has a mind of its own.

People are taking pictures of this beautiful cloud with cell phones. Videoing. And it’s hard to believe that this pretty formation is actually the same storm cloud that made us miserable, only now we’re seeing it from the reverse angle. It looks almost heavenly from this view.

I have learned something in my adulthood. Something you probably learned long before I ever did because I am slow. There are two worlds. The world I see. And the world I don’t.

Sometimes it rains. Sometimes the pilot says you’re grounded. Sometimes everything goes wrong, and all hell breaks loose. Sometimes it feels like nobody cares about how badly you hurt.

But if you can just hold on a few minutes longer; if you can just close your eyes, and count your breaths; and if you just keep waiting, you’ll see it.

There will be a break in the weather. Your pilot will say, “Let’s give it a shot,” and the plane will fly through a paradise of clouds that will blow your mind. If you’re lucky, you might even see Michael Landon and Victor French.

Either way, one thing is for certain, you will get past this storm. And you will make it to Atlanta.


  1. Steve McCaleb - June 29, 2021 7:25 am

    “Let’s give it a shot?” Only thing I’m “giving a shot” is a sprint to the nearest exit. Let’s get one thing straight, I am not now, nor have I ever been afraid to fly. It’s CRASHING that scares the bejeebers outta me ! “Give it a shot” my hind leg….

  2. Portia - June 29, 2021 9:02 am

    Thanks, I needed that. So hard to keep perspective.

  3. Frank - June 29, 2021 9:41 am

    Of course gettung ATL airport is another level of Hades Ha! Good column, we need to remember to look at the “other side” of a ny sitution.

  4. joan moore - June 29, 2021 10:10 am

    Preach it, brother!

  5. Teresa Poole - June 29, 2021 10:17 am

    Looking at clouds on both sides now 🙂 Perspective is the key to a happy life. And thanks for the shout out to “Highway to Heaven”. Watch that almost everyday on cable and I’m still a big fan of Michael Landon and Victor French.

  6. Heidi - June 29, 2021 10:32 am

    I don’t think I’ve had much “perspective “ lately. Thank you for reminding me. In a very colorful, diaper filled way.

  7. Don Dowling - June 29, 2021 10:51 am

    You are 100% CORRECT. You WILL get through the storm, after-all, even a storm runs out of rain.

  8. Debbie g - June 29, 2021 11:15 am

    I too am alway amazed at the rainbows after the storm reminding me there is
    Light at the end of dark skies you are awesome Sean thanks for reminding us !!!
    Love to all today. And wishing all brighter skies

  9. Karen Holderman - June 29, 2021 11:20 am

    I like your perspective.🌞

    • Bar - June 29, 2021 10:39 pm

      I’m in hospital with severe RSV, looking for a break in the storm and praying for strength to hang on ‘til it comes. Thanks for your encouragement.

  10. Linda - June 29, 2021 11:43 am

    Great reminder of a perspective we often forget when we are in the midst of a storm…seems we are perpetually in the midst of a storm as of late. Let’s hang on, I really like Michael Landon.

    • Peggy Thompson - June 30, 2021 12:59 pm

      Praying for your healing.🙏

  11. Alison - June 29, 2021 11:47 am

    One of my top five favorites of yours. It’s a gem.

  12. Denise Walker - June 29, 2021 11:56 am

    There is ALWAYS a silver lining

  13. Suellen - June 29, 2021 12:44 pm

    My sainted father in law told a story about a tapestry as he was teaching his congregation how a Christian goes about dying. We see the underside of the tapestry down here. The thread going every which way and all the knots and nothing makes a lot of sense. But when you can view the tapestry from the topside, from the eyes of the Creator, all the colors are vivid and the picture becomes clear. It’s all about perspective. Thanks for reminding me Sean.

  14. Mary Beth Patten - June 29, 2021 12:45 pm

    We all have our storms. Thanks, I needed to read this today. I see sunlight now.

  15. Robin B Kidd - June 29, 2021 12:50 pm

    Sean, this one of your best! Fly high!

  16. Leslie Schmidt - June 29, 2021 12:59 pm

    As, always, this is beautiful.

  17. Susan Ross - June 29, 2021 1:02 pm


  18. Helen De Prima - June 29, 2021 1:16 pm

    Thank you, Sean.

  19. Jan - June 29, 2021 1:22 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for once again opening my eyes to the big picture not just the little square I see from my window!

  20. Rhonda - June 29, 2021 1:29 pm

    Aristotle said you are what you repeatedly do”
    You repeatedly tell the truth.
    And get your point home.
    Thank you

  21. Diane White - June 29, 2021 1:31 pm

    Thank you for your gift! Your stories always speak to my heart and uplift me.

  22. Melanie - June 29, 2021 1:42 pm

    One of my favorite things is flying and so enjoyed your description of the view from above the storm. Truly close to heaven. Thank you Sean. ❤️ P. S. way too long to sit on the runway but don’t get me started- the damn ingrates on that plane can get off and walk and they would if I had anything to say about it. They are damn lucky to have anyone do as much for their safety as that airline and crew. And that goes for the nun too! 😆

  23. Ann Robbins - June 29, 2021 2:03 pm

    Loved this!!! The truly greatest experience in a plane for me…same scenario but at night. Above it all, when looking down, was lightning running through the clouds below us. And when I cupped my hands to hide the dim cabin lights to see it, lo and behold there was a meteor shower going on all around me above the storm!!!

  24. Jo Holker - June 29, 2021 2:06 pm

    Your pilot saying “Let’s give it a shot” reminds me of my last trip to the barbershop. My regular guy, Rob, was on vacation and I had already waited two days too long. I needed a haircut and the two older barbers weren’t interested. (Neither one wanted to cut a lady’s hair.) They said Tony was available. I was pretty desperate, and I knew I couldn’t wait another week , so I surrendered and climbed into the chair. Midway through the haircut Tony uttered the phrase, “It’ll grow back.” At that point I was too invested in the haircut and was trying to remember if I had a broad brimmed hat. Turns out he cut it a little shorter than I’m used to, but all in all in’s a nice haircut. We can survive pretty much anything if we just “Give it a shot”

  25. nebraskannie - June 29, 2021 2:28 pm

    It took me WAY to long to realize there’s a silver lining if you look for it. It might be that you’re running late, so you didn’t get killed on the freeway that day. It might be you hate your childhood and there are no good memories, but you’re a strong, healthy, smart person today and you can get through anything.

  26. Teresa Lynn Decker - June 29, 2021 2:37 pm

    Just what I needed to hear today! Please keep these inspirations coming. I’m new to your blog and find it encouraging!

  27. Ann - June 29, 2021 3:32 pm


  28. Anita Smith - June 29, 2021 3:33 pm

    Everything you write touches my heart. Thank you for that gift 🎁

  29. Dianne - June 29, 2021 4:01 pm

    You spoke to my heart today, Sean. Every life has its storms and sunny skies. When we’re in one of those storms, we have to remember that there are blue skies and sunshine and rainbows, thankfully.

  30. Nancy H. Williard - June 29, 2021 4:18 pm

    This one really hit home. My niece just got home from surgery. She has #4 colon cancer and is 34. Its raining and the 4 kids are bummed. But she’s home and her little boy just got the dinosaur toys I sent. “Just hold on a few minutes longer…” Thanks.

  31. Marie N Wildes - June 29, 2021 4:40 pm

    this is beautiful! Yes the storm will pass by, just hold on. I love your writings . blessings

  32. Pilgrim - June 29, 2021 4:54 pm

    Exactly what I need to be reminded today.
    Thanks Sean.

  33. cajuntiger74 - June 29, 2021 5:14 pm

    Sean, I am a big fan of yours, and of all the words you have ever strung together, these are the most PROFOUND and UPLIFTING you have ever written. This story demands to be shared, and shared and shared again. Thank you for the amazing “cloud perspective”.

  34. Rebecca Souders - June 29, 2021 5:30 pm

    Another great one, Sean Dietrich!

  35. Cotton Ketchie - June 29, 2021 5:58 pm

    Wonderful post today that speaks to the soul. Thanks.

  36. Linda Moon - June 29, 2021 6:25 pm

    Flying is not my favorite mode of transportation. When one needs to be somewhere quickly or on schedule, it’s necessary. What an awful experience! I would’ve been scared spitless at the captain’s announcement. Our highway to Heaven will probably be beautiful like you described. I get your metaphor. I thrive on them…the metaphors, because sometimes the literal is just too hard in the dark times. I see your two worlds, Sean, and I’ll always care about you and others when you hurt. We’ll make it. We surely will….to Atlanta and Beyond.

  37. Linda - June 29, 2021 6:36 pm

    Thank you .

  38. elizabethroosje - June 29, 2021 6:52 pm

    Sean, while I have often thought this very thing, how sun is still above the clouds, I sure needed that reminder today. thank you and God bless you!!!

  39. Karen Snyder - June 29, 2021 7:11 pm

    Hey, Sean! You send me down one rabbit hole or another most days. A couple of days ago, I was recalling all the fragrances I used to wear, thanks to Mother Mary’s shopping list. Today, you immediately invoked thoughts of “Keep To The Sunny Side,” so I found a video and enjoyed a couple of minutes of that classic. Thanks for the lessons you teach and the memories you invoke.🧡

  40. BJean - June 29, 2021 7:29 pm

    Beautiful and seriously true, once again!

  41. Katie - June 29, 2021 8:02 pm

    AMEN Sean! Beautiful said!

  42. Chasity Davis Ritter - June 29, 2021 8:17 pm

    Beautiful, Sean. You always open my eyes!

  43. Myrna Gray - June 29, 2021 9:16 pm

    This is such a good one!

  44. MAM - June 29, 2021 9:53 pm

    Excellent one, Sean! We all need to remember what’s above and beyond the clouds and this Earth – God and heaven.

  45. Cynthia Russell - June 29, 2021 10:01 pm


  46. Russell Moulton - June 29, 2021 10:42 pm

    Gotta go thru Atlanta to get to heaven one day anyway!!

  47. Lisa Rivard - June 29, 2021 10:53 pm

    So needed today, Sean. A friend of mine talks of the tapestry God is weaving…that it is lovely from his vantage point, but that a tapestry is not so lovely usually from the back side. It’s an image I cling to…that what God is weaving for us is beautiful, when we see it through His eyes…above the storm clouds.

  48. Bev - June 29, 2021 11:00 pm

    Thanks, it’s been a stormy day…
    I’ll keep looking for the break in the clouds…

  49. Nancy M - June 30, 2021 2:29 am

    This made me think of the song “Both Sides Now.” I googled it to be sure if the title, and learned that Joni Mitchell wrote it, inspired by a passage in a book by Saul Bellow. He was in an airplane when he wrote the passage. Joni Mitchell was in an airplane when she wrote the song!


  50. Bill Harris - June 30, 2021 2:36 am

    Thank you Sean

  51. Debra Cheney - June 30, 2021 4:36 am

    I wish I could carry you around in my pocket, Sean. We all need someone like you in our lives.

  52. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz - June 30, 2021 10:54 am

    Fabulous post. Thank you. And I thank Les of Coastal Horizons who shared your post with me.

  53. Peggy Thompson - June 30, 2021 1:00 pm

    Amen! Just hold on it will get better.
    Love this story.!!

  54. Bar - June 30, 2021 7:14 pm

    I’m hospitalized because of RSV, looking for those skies above the storm, praying for strength and courage to face my senior days in joy.

  55. Patricia Estep O’Neal - July 1, 2021 10:23 pm

    Good story. Here is where I should tell you about being on the plane in NYC, waiting and waiting in line for a takeoff through an ice storm where everybody on the plane gets sick. But my daughter doesn’t like for me to tell that story. It’s the one where a lady lost her teeth down the toilet. That story makes my daughter sick so I won’t tell it this time.

  56. Kathy - July 11, 2021 9:43 pm

    I agree with you about those two worlds. I wish I could see the one above the clouds more often, but I know it’s there even when I can’t see it.

  57. Howard Siewert - July 23, 2022 5:24 pm

    I have now read about flying and about the generous cop in Birmingham. So far so good?


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