Thursday, January 28, 2010

In The Heat of the Moment

I recently watched “Brace For Impact: the Chesley Sullenberger Story.” It was a television special on the landing of the US Airways jet in the Hudson River. I have been fascinated by this story ever since it happened for several reasons.

1. Maybe because I’m sensitive to all “flying” stories. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with two uncles who flew small planes – one who had his wings freeze up and he crashed and perished when I was in 5th grade. Or if it’s because of 9/11.

2. Maybe it’s because I’m always fascinated by honorable, humble men and women. Men and women who show great courage and integrity in the heat of the moment; such as Chesley Sullenberger. Either way, I have been an admirer of his ever since.

I was struck by how many of Chesley’s passengers felt endeared to him after the successful river landing. Of course, I would be too if faced with my impending death and knowing that someone else’s choices and decisions saved my life. Who wouldn’t be? But it reminded me how much more we need to be thankful for the choices and decisions made all the time by our pilots and co-pilots when we fly on an aircraft.

I love it when I’m getting off of a flight and I see the captain standing next to the door as I deplane. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see the faces and listen to the personalities of those you just safely carried across the skies. I think we often forget the weight that rests on their shoulders. They carry our lives in their hands. And I’m always so thankful to arrive somewhere safely. In fact, I’ve made it a habit to say “thank you” when I see the captain up front as I get off of the plane. I want him to know that I appreciate and value the fact that I’m standing there in one piece and that I can go on with my life and agenda as I’d planned…. All because of him.

I guess when you go through tragedy as I have, you learn not to take for granted little things. I know that with every breath I breathe, I’m blessed. I understand that it can all be taken away in a second.

We need more heroes like Chesley Sullenberger. We need people who “get it.” People like him who are appreciative of the attention and thankful for it, yet take it in stride never letting it define who they are because they were already defined before the rest of the world discovered them.

There is a saying – “Does the man define the moment or the moment define the man?” I think the man defines the moment for it is what is inside a person that gives them the conviction and motivation to handle the moment in the way that they do. Let more of us become this kind of a person that the world cannot sway…but who instead sways the world.

1 comment:

Holley Gerth said...

Great reminder, Dionna! Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration today that one person can make a difference...and all it takes is a moment.

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