Category Archives: Airplane Crashes

When a Moment Changes Your Life Forever

When I reflect on the devastating plane crash near Buffalo, New York that killed 50 people this past Thursday evening, I tend to notice how fragile life can be. We go about our business each day anticipating that we’ll wake up with all our family and friends in tact, and go to bed with the same understanding.

We enjoy their company, organize life plans with them, graduate schools and colleges, get married, have babies, raise good children, see them get married and have babies and raise good children all the while believing it will continue this way in perpetuity.

But for some people, like the families who suddenly and so unexpectedly lost their precious loved one in such a horrific tragedy, their ‘normal’ lives were shattered in one single moment. Just one. A moment that will forever change how they see life, how they adapt to life, how they cope with change and how they will rebuild all they’ve ever known.

Nothing is more disconcerting that change. We fight it in our everyday life, but we aren’t far from it. We fight it on our jobs, we fight it in relationships with family and friends, we fight it within ourselves when we realize something better could become available to us if we’d only allow ourselves to change.

But with changes come fear. Fear that we won’t get it right. Fear that it has to come out perfect. Fear that when all is said and done, it won’t be the same as before. And you know what…you’re right. It won’t be the same.

And when tragedy strikes, somehow all that nonsense that came before seems so completely trivial. That was baby stuff compared to this. This is serious. This is sudden. This is shocking. This is real.

So when I meet folks who are so concerned about money and stuff and games they play with other people’s emotions, at this point in my life it’s almost laughable. When you have lived through such tragedy as I have in the past and the families of this flight will now endure, you instantaneously get an entirely new perspective on life.

Right now for them, absolutely nothing else matters. The only thing they are now consumed with is dealing with the shock and disbelief that this is happening to them. That the person who they loved so much is no longer here. That they won’t get to call them to share good news anymore. That they won’t get to share in all their future accomplishments. That they won’t be able to hug and physically love them any longer.

So let us be especially mindful that life is incredibly short. In a blink our lives could change forever. Let us be kind toward others. Let us be loving. For one day, it will be our turn to endure a painful loss.

The Courage Behind SuperBowl 2009

Although I was so happy the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled it out at the very end of what turned out to be one of the best superbowls I’ve seen in a while, I couldn’t help but feel so much pride for the crew who saved 155 lives in the Hudson River last month or feel so much compassion for Jennifer Hudson’s courage that day.

On a very busy day in January, working from home, I found myself with binoculars in hand watching an airliner floating in the Hudson River. Having a ring-side seat to such an event is something you don’t easily forget. Add to that a friend was traveling to Miami that day and as I didn’t have his flight number, naturally I felt a little panicked, until that blessed text came in that he was safe and actually scheduled to be on a private jet instead.

I remember when members of the media were interviewing the survivors who would speak with them, each was asked how they felt they had made it out safely and every single one of them thanked or acknowledged that it was God who pulled them through. Every one.

It will never cease to amaze me how we always seem to acknowledge and call on Him when we’re in a frightening place, but rarely have time for him otherwise. Someone once asked me why I thought we tend to call out to Him in crisis, and I told them I felt it was because inherently we know where we came from, and whose we belong to.

So when the crew was acknowledged at the SuperBowl I was quite pleased. Because we don’t have many ‘real’ heroes amongst us any longer, it was wonderful that they were praised for their heroism, especially the captain whose skill and calmness of mind delivered all those men and women back safely into the arms of those whom they love.

And as for Jennifer Hudson…what can I possible say except that I welled up with tears as I stood at attention while she sang. I remember very clearly after my stepdaughter was murdered what was going on inside just a few months afterwards. It was a chaotic time, a time of numbness and confusion and trying to keep it all together. It was a very surreal time and you are unsure of your footing, just trying to function and moving one step in front of the other.

Her great faith will undoubtedly help her during this most difficult time in her life. To lose three family members at once is hard enough…to lose them all to murder in an entirely different thing.

Her performance was flawless and her composure amazing. I held my breath for her. And I pray that she will feel all that love that surrounded her that day when the bubble that’s cushioning her starts to ease.