The Plane Crash that Gave Us Hope

One year after the miracle landing of Flight 1549, we investigate the ripple effect of how it changed people's lives for the better.

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Ripples. After the miracle, these ordinary people who lived an extraordinary experience have experienced rising love, faith, wisdom, healing. Some are so full of love and compassion they hardly know what to do with it. They’re building on the miracle, extending it out in caring and goodwill to their families, to their co-workers, to their friends, to their communities, to the world. They are cheered at work, heralded in church, embraced at home. People delight in being around them, being near the miracle.

And now, on the one-year anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson, we are invited to consider this question: can the ripples reach us too? Can we too be touched by this miracle, or whatever we choose to call it? After all, we weren’t on that plane. We didn’t know these people beyond the news reports, the documentaries and the books. We didn’t reach the brink of death and come away with this gift of “new” life.

And yet, might there be that deeper meaning we sensed from when we heard about the miracle that day, or a year after, that we can take inside our own hearts and souls? Could there be lessons we can gain from the examples of these people riding the waves of their spiritual awakening or renewal?

In a way, we’re all survivors. We’ve all had our “plane crash,” or crashes, though they may not make Headline News. We’ve faced, or perhaps are facing, dark moments, conditions that look bleak, outlooks without light. We’ve been up to our necks in the cold, dark waters of this unpredictable life that brings not only moments of unbridled joy but of startlingly real challenges. We’ve all had moments when we, like those passengers who were asked to brace for impact, had to surrender. To let go.

And we’re still here. We too have been touched by grace, no doubt many times, even every day. We have had compassionate hands reaching for us in the dangerous current or wrapping us in a bear hug of caring and support. We have been granted second chances. We have received unexpected gifts.

Isn’t it possible that the ripples of this miracle now, one year after, can serve as reminders that what we need, what we long for in new chances, new possibilities, is right in front of us? Right here, right now? Perhaps what happened that cold winter’s day on the Hudson, and what the passengers have made of the experience, can sprinkle the seeds that, if we nurture them, can help us grow. To become more of who we’re meant to be. To shine. To let God be God in us.

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Kevin Quirk
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