The Good Giant

I know; Fathers’ Day is over. For a few weeks, we thought a little more about the man who first gave shape and color to our world, who gave us one of our first images of our self. Perhaps it was an image of something precious, to be treasured and protected, or… perhaps not.

It’s a risky thing to be born into a world of giants, to be so powerless and fragile. It is also a fearsome thing to be the giant to whom a child is given. There are so many ways to fail and to forget, so many things you must surrender if you are to become the good giant, the one who carves out of the hard world a soft, safe place for your child.

Our father was our first hero if he was any father at all; awesome in size and strength. We reached for his giant hand and stared up into his face and hoped to see a smile, some assurance of his love. It is a picture woven into the world, repeated in the experience of every child: our weakness cast upon another’s strength, our desperate need for someone’s mercy, the beauty and necessity of compassion.

Christians recognize in this the careful design of a Creator who built a universe to help us know him, who placed on human fathers the frightening responsibility of having almost godlike power over their children. It seems a terrible risk, and some men prove it so. But, for many more, becoming a father is a door to redemption, an invitation to choose godlike love over our natural gigantic ambition.

I love these pictures because they show what happens when we accept that invitation. Day by day, our pilots practice the beautiful art of Fatherhood, using their strength to care for people who are not strong. We hope to emulate, in our small way, the greatest giant of all, who laid down his life for his friends, and the one Father who is truly good.

-2019, with Wings of Mercy. (HTTP://www.wingsofmercy.org)

Reviewer comments for “A Different Kind of Sky”

One of the best books I’ve ever read. Such a captivating story…

——–

Started to read at 11 p.m. last night. Finished it at 5 a.m. this morning. Bad idea but well worth the loss of sleep.

——–

Such a descriptive narrative. Well thought out and expertly written. I feel like I just lived life alongside Mike… There is so much depth and richness in the storytelling that I didn’t want it to end.

.——–

This book had me laughing and crying. It was an emotional read full of wonder, hope, and sadness.

——–

I found myself experiencing side-splitting laughter, bouts of deep, heartfelt grief, and curious excursions into the overwhelming vastness of human existence, confronting the age-old questions: How is it that humans exist, and for what purpose?

——–

The characters feel like real people. The storyline contains a solid mix of humor, sadness, suspense, and drama.

——–

This book was really hard to put down. The character development by the author draws you into the story, making you feel a strong connection to their life’s journey. Excellent book for a club as the depth is well beyond a surface discussion of life, faith, joy, tragedy, etc. Can not wait for more from this author!

Find the story on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625862393

The Summer of our Souls

The day feels like a dream. Soft blue sky with feathers of high cloud. Birds and peepers calling from the pond. The great ocean of fragrant air drifts lazily over greening fields, and sun falls softly on skin.

For months, we have been on guard, shoulders hunched under thick clothes, defending the warmth inside. But today, it seems, the long-rumored miracle has occurred. The wounding winter is in full retreat.

On the fringes of my vision, the world whizzes by. We ride the airplane like a bobsled, my student and I, he in the front seat, focused on his work. Ahead, I can see little, but to the side, there are shimmering silos, rivers ablaze with sunlight that glides alongside as we pass.

The student is very good, as young as I am old. Around and around we go, down to the runway and back into the sky.

The eerie perfection of this morning, the skill of the pilot, the quiet sense that nothing could go wrong on such a day – I defend against this, just as I defend against winter.

Life teaches us the danger of this feeling. Moments of happiness are soon eclipsed by new troubles, and the shock of this is, at first, almost too much to bear. Better to keep up your guard. Better to defend against sorrow, even in times of apparent peace. Better to never be surprised.

But there is something heartbreaking in this, the knowledge that we are never quite safe, doomed by our mortality to the same humiliating end.

If Earth is home, then we are homeless. Spring comes to melt the snow but not our sorrows. We catch a faint scent, a fleeting glimpse, a fading echo of unspeakable beauty, but we find no lasting peace and no real answer to the ache of our longing.

There is no summer for our souls.

I have not given much thought to heaven because I so wanted to find a home on Earth. It has taken me many years to realize that my wounds and my longings are not unique and not the result of circumstances I might somehow change.

For me and for you, however strong or rich, however sick or poor, life will often be cold and lonely and dangerous. Our bodies, however elegant, do not last. Our families and friendships and communities are flawed in painful ways, and we have done our part to make them so.

We still haven’t found what we’re looking for because it is not here.

The offer of heaven is many things, among them proof that our souls are telling the truth. We feel homeless on Earth because Earth is not our home. We were made for a better country, made to be the kind of people who could learn to live in that country.

My own learning is very slow, but on this eerily perfect day, the fragrant air alive with birdsong, I remember who sends the spring – the dazzling One who whispers that he can heal me as surely as he heals the Earth.

———

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
-Revelation 21:4

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on Earth… They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
-Hebrews 11:13-16


In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence…

…The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret.

…At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.

C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
https://www.wheelersburg.net/Downloads/Lewis%20Glory.pdf

A Different Kind of Sky

Mike is a dangerous man living a dangerous life. He flies low and fast, dodging trees and wires. He fights for those he loves and aches for those he has lost. He longs for the one woman who quiets his restless soul.

How does love change us? How do we survive crushing disasters? How do we make sense of ourselves and the world around us?

A Different Kind of Sky is a story of loss and restoration—a story of one man’s search for meaning in this deadly and beautiful world.

Find A Different Kind of Sky on Amazon: A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel

CBHaze
CBHaze
2023-01-23
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Great story, hard to put down! This is a very good read that flows well and brings you into the story/location. If you grew up in the country or have spent any time in the country, this story will bring you back to those times. Highly recommend.
John L
John L
2023-01-02
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: A compelling, page-turning read The plot flows fluidly and compellingly; sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Not bound by strict calendar dates or traditional chapter breaks, the author tells a captivating story with varying pace, but one that moves along to keep the reader wanting to see what happens next. There are several surprises. The characters exude real-life -- not contrived -- people. The storyline contains a solid mix of humor, sadness, suspense, and drama. I would recommend.
Jcat
Jcat
2022-12-13
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Excellent read. Such a great story. So very happy to have read it.
Amazon Customer
Amazon Customer
2022-12-05
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Wonderful Journey of a man’s struggle to find his place in life I’m not much of a fiction reader but I love Aviation and decided to give it a read. I’m so happy I did. This book was wonderful. I had a hard time putting it down.This is a journey of one man’s struggle and quest to find the meaning of life and death. You follow his journey from adolescence to adulthood and all the trials and tribulations that go with it. This book had me laughing and crying. It was an emotional read full of wonder, hope and sadness. His questions on faith are very relatable and really makes you dig deep into your own thoughts on who we are, why we are here now and what comes next. It shows how fragile life can be and the impacts we make on others.Religious or not, this book will leave you wanting more.
John Frye
John Frye
2022-11-22
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: High Altitude Story; Down to Earth People A good writer creates characters who seem real, living lives with which you can identify. Readers, following Michael, the main character, on his relational trail, whether with family, friends, co-workers and Ralph, encounter all the joyful and sorrowful experiences of life. Jeff Ostrander has a way of etching them into our memory. I found myself experiencing side-splitting laughter, bouts of deep, heartfelt grief, and curious excursions into the overwhelming vastness of human existence and confronting the age-old, yet ever presence questions: How is that humans exist and for what purpose?
Kevin Moy
Kevin Moy
2022-11-12
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Wonderful story about a walk through life What enjoyment this book brought me! A simple man yet faced with challenges we give little thought to. Every page bringing either a smile, frown, fear, joy, hope, love or answers to what we all call life that most of us dream for. Read this book to help you see the wonders and beauty that surrounds you.
Amazon Customer
Amazon Customer
2022-11-07
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Good blend of characters and plot. Ostrander does a great job of weaving personalities into the plot. Excellent, page turning read.
Chinterman
Chinterman
2022-11-01
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Outstanding and Realistic This book is an exceptional story of one man's journey through life and toward faith. It masterfully avoids the trite storyline typical ofChristian novels. It feels genuine and I found myself deeply caring about the characters. Well done!
Marshall Pennell
Marshall Pennell
2022-10-24
Verified
A Different Kind of Sky: A Novel: Captivated my mind and my emotions. I'm still thinking about it. Such a descriptive narrative. Well thought out and expertly written. I feel like I just lived life alongside of Mike.The things that the main character, Mike, thinks about are things that we all think about, or at least try to. There is so much depth and richness in the storytelling that I didn't want it to end. Some books entertain you and help pass the time but offer no real benefit for having read them. This book is certainly entertaining but also enriching. It is thought provoking without demanding that the reader be a scholar or philosopher. An excellent and well crafted piece of art!