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.