We finally saw the movie, “Sully.” We intended to see it when it first came out, but the birth of our grandson was more important and we put it off a couple weeks.
Like everyone else, we remembered the event. On takeoff from La Guardia airport on January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549 lost both engines after hitting a flock of birds. The pilot, Chelsey Sullenberger, executed an astonishing water landing on the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers.
We were anxious to see the story on the big screen. It was as moving as we thought it might be, perhaps more so. We both wept.
I think we wept because it portrayed the true story of people who care about each other. Not only the heroism of Sullenberger, but the crew who put the passengers’ safety before their own, the passengers themselves who helped one another, the air traffic controllers and the New York emergency responders who rescued all 155 people from the sinking air craft in 24 minutes.
God is constantly preparing each of us for His purposes. Sullenberger was prepared for this moment by all the events that went before, including his most devastating tragedy. In 1995 his father committed suicide. Sullenberger said of this event, ““I was angry, hurt and devastated,” he said about his father’s death in 1995. “It was very difficult. But, it gave me a better sense of the fleeting nature of life and led me to want to preserve life at all costs. That was with me that day.”
It reminded me that for every terrorist, for every psychopath that opens fire or plants a bomb, there are thousands of good people who put their life on the line to save the lives of others. We have seen this repeatedly. We watched hundreds of emergency personnel and every-day citizens leap to the rescue of others on September 11, 2001. We witnessed it in the theater in Colorado when young men shielded young women with their own bodies and a girl refused to run in order to save her friend’s life. The reports of heroism in the midst of disaster are endless.
The story reminded me that this is what made our nation great. Our heritage is not based on survival of the fittest, putting others down for our own success or survival. Our heritage is based on the teachings of Jesus: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “In that you do it for the least of these you have done it to me.” “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.”
The story reminded me that this is why God has not given up on the human race. Humans can be incredibly selfish, self-serving, violent and mean. But they can also be incredibly good. We have infinite potential for good, to love our fellow man, to sacrifice for the lives of others. God gives us the opportunity to “overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)