"No one is promised tomorrow." I've heard this saying many times throughout my life and to be honest, I've filed it away in the same mental cabinet with the many other platitudes that I've heard over the years. No one is promised tomorrow, but for me, tomorrow has always come.
On Tuesday, Southwest flight 1380-on its way from New York to Dallas- experienced an engine explosion. This explosion propelled pieces of metal into the air, which ended up breaking one of the passenger windows. A woman was partially pulled through this broken window while other passengers held on to her. In the chaos that followed, passengers prayed and sent frantic messages to family members and friends. The pilot, a former Navy fighter pilot named Tammie Jo Shults, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia where the plane was greeted by medics and emergency personnel. Although a retired nurse and a firefighter tried to perform CPR and render aid, the woman who had been pulled through the broken window, Jennifer Riordan, later passed away from her injuries.
This was a terrifying story to hear and I can't imagine how the passengers must have felt on that plane. We all sit through the flight attendants' speeches about exit doors and oxygen masks and seats that can be used as flotation devices but none of us actually expect that we'll use them. Right? To be honest, I have listened to podcasts during the safety speech, tuning out and closing my eyes before take-off.
"Your life can change in an instant." That's another saying. And it's true. We never know what will happen from one second to the next- if this will be the last time we speak to loved ones or if this is the last sunrise we'll ever see. It's scary to think about. But what can we do? Be nihilistic? Live our lives in fear? We can't. The only thing we can do is live each moment in a way that fulfills our own personal mission statements. We can only love and give voice to that love whenever we have the chance. We can only breathe in our moments for as long as they are given to us and find meaning in every connection we make along the way. We can only give priority to what really matters.
Because maybe there isn't always a tomorrow. But there is a today.