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A silver lining

BY HOWARD COOP

On Tuesday, November 10, 1970, I arose early with a feeling of apprehension and dread. I had never flown, but at 11:40 that morning, I, along with a group of people traveling with me, was scheduled to board American Airlines flight # 350 in Cincinnati and fly to Kennedy International Airport in New York by way of Pittsburg. The weather was unpleasant, and as I drove from Georgetown to the airport, it got much more unpleasant. 

At the proper time, we boarded the plane, and it taxied down the runway. When it lifted off the runway, clouds and mist were so dense that I could hardly see the end of the wings of that Boeing 707. In a moment, we were totally engulfed in clouds and nothing was visible. I was, indeed, tense, but I didn’t say anything to anyone.  However, I thought: “Is this really necessary?”  

In a few minutes, the situation began to change, and the change came quickly. As the plane ascended, the fog and mist began less dense, and it began to disappear. Rays of sunshine broke through the clouds.  In a short time, the plane was above the clouds, and the sun was shining brilliantly. Shining down upon the clouds below us, there was the feeling that the plane was floating on a bed of sparkling silver.

My apprehension and dread began to disappear. Then, looking out the window of the plane, I remembered something I had heard all my life: “Every cloud has a silver lining.” That old adage, a source of optimism and hope for 383 years, is traced back to John Milton’s COMUS that he wrote in 1634.

Most of us have lived long enough to discover one thing: the path of life is not always smooth. There are times when there are storms, and sometimes the storms rage. But, sunlight breaks through the clouds, and we know that, regardless of how dark they have been, the clouds have a silver lining. And hope returns.