Friday, January 16, 2009

Fragility

As I watched the remarkable "Miracle on the Hudson River" this morning, one word came to my mind: fragility. Yesterday, leaving LaGuardia Airport in New York City, on its way to Charlotte, NC, US Airways flight 1549 started its odds-defying journey. First, the odds are one in ten thousand that a bird will fly into the engine of a jet liner. Flight 1549 had it happen twice, one for each engine.

As the pilots and crew worked the drill that they have practiced for years, preparing for an emergency landing, the 155 passengers probably did not know for sure that the odds were against them again. With an inevitable crash landing in the river that divides Manhattan from New Jersey, some 900 feet from smashing into a bridge, prior to yesterday, no plane that had to crash into water had a 100 percent survival rate.

I can only imagine what would go through my mind in situation like that. The passengers that were interviewed relied their faith, thought about spouses and tried to make peace with their life mentally. I am sure all that would go my mind as well.

Which is why I thought about fragility. Yesterday's events reminded me how fragile our lives are on this earth. One minute you are thinking about what you are getting ready to do next on your list, then...

Truth is, our time on this earth is borrowed time. We are here for an uncertain period to make a difference in this world we live in. It may be 12 years, 44 years, or 112 years, no one knows for sure. That is why I wonder why so many people take their lives for granted. I wonder why young men and women think they are immortal, especially those that engage in risky behavior.

We only have one fragile life to live, with no mulligans. I used to do an exercise for youngsters where they had to take care of an egg for a week without cracking it or dropping it to teach responsibility. You can imagine how careless those youngsters were. However, when I look at some of my fellow citizens on this planet, they are just as careless with their real lives.

The 160 people that defied the odds yesterday will have a new perspective of life guaranteed. What will it take for most of us to gain that perspective? I pray it is nothing as drastic as landing in a river.