I like sitting on rooftops whenever I get the chance. If somebody invited me to a rooftop, I would consider dropping everything I was doing at the time to join them just because I enjoy it.
I guess I’m a sucker for a good view. There is something about a good view that is very humbling: to stand atop something tall and soak in the awe and majesty of seeing more of the world than we were able to see from the ground just minutes earlier. For maybe even just one second, until our attention spans prevent the majesty of the moment to continue inspiring us, we take the focus off of ourselves.
It wasn’t always this way for me. The love of being high above things, I mean. When I was much younger, I was so afraid of heights that I refused to climb on the playground monkey bars that these days I’m actually taller than. I still remember the day where my friends Mark and Dustin told me to just suck it up, so I did, and we all three climbed up and sat there and soaked things in. My life changed at that very moment. Now, instead of always being afraid of falling, I had a thirst to climb to the top and soak everything in.
I never looked back from that moment. Rooftops. Mountains. Ladders. Balconies. Glass elevators. I can’t get enough of being above things.
Maybe that’s why I enjoy flying so much. One of my favorite aspects of traveling anywhere is the chance to stare out of the window as we take off, watching the world as I know it grow so distant. To look out over familiar surroundings in an entirely new perspective. Flying gives us that awesome opportunity. That’s what standing on a rooftop or a mountain gives us. Height gives us a chance for a different perspective, and if we really thought about that, we would see just how beautiful that idea is.
How is this not fascinating to everyone in the world? The ability to look at everything we know in a different way? To never be bored with the world because there are a million other ways that we can see it? The appreciation of the fact that there is always more we can learn? We can never learn it all. And that’s so breathtaking.
Being taller (statistically) than most men in the world, the feeling of being small is neat. Being taller than most of the people I meet means that those moments don’t always happen as often as they maybe should. But on a rooftop, I am very small. It’s because I can see everything for how it really is, and with things the way they are, I am such a very small piece of the puzzle.
In a moment of bitter frustration not too long ago, I pulled up Microsoft Word and wrote a satirical open letter that nobody would ever see. It was to mock all the pretentious open letters published all over the internet involving all that was wrong with the world from the viewpoint of whatever pretentious, self-important person was writing it. I entitled it “Life Isn’t For You” in direct mocking of a particularly popular blog post at the time and the countless replies to it.
It was purposefully satirical and purposefully private. Yeah, it’s silly that we so often get so puffed up and self-important about who is mistreating the poor or who marriage is really about or how it’s totally cool if we’re in our 20’s and still single, but I also think those things are important. Ever since the moment I stood on the playground and evaluated my fear of heights, I have firmly believed that evaluating ourselves and the world around us is a good thing to do. Why am I even writing if that’s not the point?
I know my focus, though, often lines up with the focuses of so many of the writers of these open letters. It is a focus directly solely on myself. How do people view me? How should I view myself? How is this applicable to me, and me, and me? I am the central character in this world. My world.
I love to stand on rooftops because there, I am small. There, I have perspective. And life, like love and work and community and relationships and wealth and poverty, isn’t about me.
Maybe I don’t have to figure out singleness. Or marriage. Or community. Or wealth and poverty. I probably don’t have the capability to figure out the problems of the world. But I do have the capability to see them. And I can see them. And if I’m willing to seek them out, I can see these things from many countless perspectives.
I don’t know, maybe that’s actually the point. Not that we’ll ever figure out “the” point, but still. Maybe the point is that we’ll never figure out the point. But we can see it. And see countless other points all around it.
I don’t need to know what’s next. I don’t need to understand what is happening right now. I don’t need to fix you. I don’t need to solve the world’s problems.
I only need to stand on rooftops. I only need to find perspective. I only need to appreciate the immense size of the entire world and universe and God who made it. I only need to be amazed, not jaded and self-important. I only need to be in awe of this world, not to figure it out.
I only need to be small. So beautifully, wonderfully small.