It is always chilling for me to read about yet another plane crash, and even more so when it’s American Airlines–the same carrier that crashed into my family’s home. Thankfully there were no fatalities from this crash in Kingston, Jamaica. You can be sure though that those passengers will be changed by the event. They may think about the flight they almost took, or missed by a few minutes–or how they raced to catch this one. Some may have been convinced to take the trip by others, or talked out of another one. Details are always telling–and sometimes chilling.
In Replacement Child, some of the people on the ground escaped the plane crash and death by a twist of fate, or a last minute decision. A teacher who kept his class late, a rehearsal cut short. And, then again, the fateful decision of my sister Donna to come home early from school that day. I think often of how small decisions have a ripple effect and it makes me hesitate to suggest a certain flight, a specific mode of transportation for my loved ones. What if I push them to the one that crashes and burns? No, I let them make those decisions themselves and back away from that particular responsibility.
Every time I hear of another plane crash it reinforces one of the main tenets of my personal philosophy: Anything can happen. We are held here by a mere twist tie, at the mercy of the forces of nature and every decision of every other human on the planet. It isn’t an easy philosophy to carry–but it does make me grateful for each and every day.