Our Fragile Existence

We depend on so much in our modern world – things that are usually invisible to our daily lives.  We expect that when we want to make a phone call, an incredibly complex network of wires, switches and computers will connect our phone with that one phone in the entire world being held by the person with whom we wish to speak.  We expect that when we sit down in a movie theater, an entire army of highly specialized and talented people will have combined their skills, with the result packaged and distributed to the right location and projected in the correct theater; all to delight us for two hours.

We expect that when we get onto an airplane, all of the hardware, all of the software, and all of the skilled people will work perfectly and deliver us safely to our destination.  We especially expect that after we have been on a flight for eleven hours and see the plane gradually drifting down to the airport, that we will soon be safely on the ground.  Perhaps our loved ones are waiting.  Perhaps we are visiting a special city for the first time.  Perhaps we are simply passing through on the way to other places.

Today – July 6, 2013 – over 300 people on board an Asiana Airlines 777 expected to be delivered safely as their plane drifted slowly down towards runway 28L at San Francisco Airport.  Instead, their plane hit the ground too hard.  The tail broke off.  Other parts broke off.  Finally the plane skidded to a stop in the dirt to the side of the runway and soon was engulfed in flames and thick, black smoke.  Miraculously, almost all of those on board survived.  As of this writing, only two are confirmed dead.  When I look at the photos of the charred fuselage, I’m filled with wonder that the casualties were not much, much higher.

So take a moment to reflect on the things and people that silently do exactly those things that you expect them to do each day.  Without them, our lives would not be anything like what we enjoy.

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