Celebrate the Miracle

One hundred fifty-five people decided to live on January 15, 2009.  Today, synchronistically, I was on the Hudson River at the exact time, in the exact spot, where Flight 1549 crash-landed. The boat I was on participated in the rescue on that cold, January afternoon.

The “miracle workers” who were on Flight 1549 climbed out on the wing and quietly waited for rescue. One rescue worker described the passengers and crew as so calm you would “think they were hitchhiking.” I call them miracle workers because together in their collective and individual consciousness they chose life when it would have been so easy to choose death.

Certainly the professionalism and skill of Captain Chesley B Sullenberger III was extremely important in everyone’s survival. So was his co-pilot’s ability to trust Captain Sullenberger to take the controls without argument or struggle. This decision by the co-pilot is more rare then you might imagine.

Yet, I believe that today’s celebration of The Miracle occurred because every single person on board decided to live. I watch for decisions like this in other people. Today the universe put me in the exact spot where this miracle happened. What are the odds, I would think astronomical. Yet, I was there watching the New York fire boats spray red, white and blue water in high, arching water rainbows over the spot of “life.”

I believe that we live and die by choice. We don’t always know why we choose to live. My 92-year-old aunt doesn’t want to live any more, yet year after year she continues to live, and by anyone’s standards—well. She doesn’t know why she can’t die. We don’t always know why we chose to die. Too many find themselves at death’s door without knowing why they have chosen to die.

But I believe somewhere in the depth of me is that decision. My decision, not some “out of the blue” disease’s or even some heroic Captain who keeps the plane from breaking apart while landing on water. Live is my decision! Death is my decision!

So, today during the Celebration of the Miracle, I once again celebrate life. The life of the woman who was pulled out of the water, one of the few who actually fell into the Hudson, was saved because she wanted to live. The man who ran to the back of the plane in his t-shirt and under shorts thinking to open the door and jump out of the plane before it “crashed,” lived. The children dressed in pajamas and flip-flops lived. The man who, with disdain, later told the press that anyone who gets on a plane should be dressed properly because people traveling in pajamas were in no position to help themselves, lived. The woman whose greatest concern was her lost purse lived.

Life is not about desirability; it is about choosing to live. So once again, I confirm to myself that life is my choice. Every day is a miracle, one filled with the gift of life. Every day I must consciously choose to live, not just breathe, but to really live.