This morning, far before any respectable roosters were up, Rudy and I boarded a flight to Florida. Yes, on Southwest. Yes, on a 737. And yes, I am sitting in a window seat.
I stared into the dark as we waited to push back, thinking about what took place two days ago. Imagining the terror the passengers all felt. The absolute horror of watching a seatmate pulled violently through a small window. The superhuman fight to pull her back in. And the minutes that had to feel like eternities as each passenger prayed, reviewed their lives, texted loved ones, and felt the clock running out.
That Captain Tammie Jo Shults and her First Officer, Darren Ellisor kept their composure, their professionalism, their training, their expertise at the fore of their actions is remarkable. Those two people knew the gravity of the situation more than anyone in the back who were simply in terror over actual gravity. They are to be lauded for bringing the plane in safely.
As I sit here looking at the small window, and thinking about the wife, mother, friend, business leader, Jennifer Riordan, who died, my heart hurts for her family. And my heart desperately wishes that what happened was so fast that she simply had no idea. Any other scenario is horrific.
That those who shared the plane with her have spent the past two days analyzing their lives, luck, the fates, chance is not surprising. No matter how much machismo, ego, arrogance or bullshit a person may contain or front, no one walked away from that landing unchanged.
They walked away with a full understanding on every regret they have, every opportunity they passed, every encounter they blew off, every kind word they did not share. Because they, like all of us, boarded that plane believing there is always tomorrow.
That is where my head and heart are as we move through the clouds.
The hubris of a human is just part and parcel of the organic makeup. We believe in our superiority, our importance, our imperviousness. Right up to the second it is all threatened.
We do not have tomorrow. At least not a guarantee. What we have is now, this day, this hour, this moment.
What have you put off? Who have you put off? What do you want to do with your life before your life is over? Whose phone call should you answer instead of sighing and letting it go to voicemail? Where do you want to go, what do you want to see? Who should know you care?
The word privilege is bandied about a lot these days. It is about the ability to not care because something doesn't touch your life. Skin color, gender, orientation, religion. Add breathing to that list.
Breathing is a privilege, and one we give little to no thought because our bodies just do it. Sure, we can suspend things momentarily, but try holding your breath at length. Your body will kick you out of the way and take over the process. Our bodies want to live, and breathing is a privilege we enjoy without effort.
In and out, in and out. Slower, faster, deeper, shallow - every breath is an opportunity to do, be, grow, learn, reach out, reach in.
This morning as I bought Wifi, the first picture that appeared in my FB feed was the beauty of a DGMS family that just grew overnight. Mom, Dad, and their new baby. A baby who just took her first breaths in this life.
What adventures are in her future, where will she go, what will she see, do? Who will she love?
As I sit here at 30,000 feet, I think about her and wish her the fullness of every breath. I wish you the wisdom to begin doing, not waiting, not putting off. To use today. And most of all, I look at this small window and wish peace to the family of Jennifer Riordan, and that her adventures are simply continuing somewhere we all eventually will fly.