It is amazing how life can turn on a dime. One minute you are flying home trying to remember where you parked your car and the next you are wondering if you will ever make it home again.
Last Tuesday, I was on my way home from Chicago. About 15 minutes into the flight, I felt a shudder and the plane started turning. Then the pilot came on the intercom and said that he had declared an emergency. Apparently, we were losing all our hydraulic fluid and our plane needed to return to Chicago immediately.
This was my first and, hopefully, last experience with an in-flight emergency.
Never have I felt so completely out of control. Here I was at 31,000 feet, strapped into a seat with no ability to do anything to fix the situation. All I knew new was that the pilot and co-pilot were working through a checklist and trying to get us back on the ground safely.
I was completely and utterly powerless. Not a fun emotion.
After the pilot finished speaking, the plane went silent.
People started looking for their cell phones – by the way, they do not work at 31,000 feet.
After finding my cell phone, I started thinking about my relationships.
Had I told my wife I loved her?
Did my boys know that I was proud of them? Was I a good example? Did they see Christ in me?
These are big questions, but they are the kind of questions you ask when you think you might not make it home.
Until last week, I could only imagine what goes through a mind when you think you are going to die. Now I know.
Of all the things I could have been concerned about, the only thing that mattered were my relationships.
Was there any unfinished business?
Is this essentially the theme of advent? Jesus coming as a baby in a manger. Humbling himself, becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. In Genesis 3 we have the story of the first sin and the fracturing of the relationship between humanity and God. Advent is a period of expectancy – anticipating the arrival of Jesus, the Savoir of the world; the mender of broken relationships.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, take time to tell your loved ones that you love them. If there are broken relationships, work at restoration.
You never know when life will take an unexpected turn.