I don’t watch the evening news. The white noise of so many busy-body blabbermouths saying the same things over and over again usually lacks luster for me. I’d rather have quiet or music. This evening when I got home, mom called and said, “Evie, I know you don’t watch the news, but you have got to turn on the TV and watch some of what happened today.” She proceeded to give me the Cliffs Notes version of the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 out of LaGuardia. “What?!!” I said with a breathless smile on my face. Since the larger part of the American population actually do watch news and own computers, I will spare you my version of this incredible story.
But do you know how relatively narrow the Hudson River is?? Or how close the plane came to the George Washington Bridge as it flew overhead? Or that the plane was at just the perfect angle to avoid an end-over-end catastrophe? Or that it’s possible for geese to take down an entire aircraft? Or that there were business men in their nice suits aiding the people in quickly escaping the frigid water?
I find myself straining to comprehend the thrill in the hearts, the lumps in the throats and the cries of relief of the survivors’ family members and loved ones. It’s truly a miracle that occurred today — the fact that all 155 passengers made it out alive, and mostly healthy — and the life of the heroic pilot Chesley Sullenberger will never be the same.
Now this is the kind of news I want to hear — the kind that moves me to happy tears and gives me hope for the way human beings treat one another with kindness, empathy and love. There are hundreds of photos already flooding the internet and the news programs. A few of them show the survivors standing knee-deep in water on the wings of the submerged plane, waiting calmly for rescue. Although I know the physical truth of the matter and I know that there’s an explanation for how they appear there, reflecting in the surface of the shimmering, icy river, I can’t help but smile at the sweet irony of that imagery — God’s trusting children walking on water.