Every now and then I look back at my life and I think of the numerous times I have found myself a breath away from death. There was that time in High School, riding in a buddies car, not wearing a seat belt (no one did back then). He took the curve a little fast and the next thing I know I am hanging out the car window with roadside grass hitting me in the face. There was that time in Tijuana when the local police picked up me and my coworkers and proceeded to threaten our lives in exchange for whatever maximum we could withdraw from our ATM cards. Even the blood clot incident makes me wonder sometimes just how close I've come to the "great beyond"?
This whole Bin Laden business has hit me a lot harder than I initially realized it would. Mainly because it forces me to think back to 9/11 and again, just how close I was to all of it. Now, I can't even begin to compare my grief to anyone who lost someone on that fateful day. But I was close…too darn close.
For those who haven't heard the story…
I was traveling for work that day. We were flying an early morning flight out of Dulles to Boston for a convention. Upon landing in Boston we heard the news on the radio regarding the first plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. At that point it was almost laughable. The full horror of it all hadn't hit yet. We thought some little tiny two-seater airplane had gone off course. As the day progressed and the horror of it all unfolded we came to find out that the plane that hit the Pentagon left from the airport gate right next to us. Of course then we found out that one of the planes that hit the tower left from Boston. Even more disturbing was that while waiting in Boston to find out if the show we were there for was canceled (Duh!), a news truck pulled up outside the building and trained their camera on the Prudential Tower…assuming that would be the next target. The hotel we were staying in was searched from top to bottom, revealing the fact that terrorists who carried off the plan that day were, in fact staying there. Like I said…too close.
If I were a religious man…and I'm NOT, I might somehow talk myself into believing that the hand of God was at work. "He" was protecting me from these many close calls. It could have been my plane flying into the Pentagon, I was only one gate away. Boston could have been a target too. My hotel could have had an explosive device inside to cover the tracks of the perpetrators.
Apparently, I have Osama Bin Laden himself to thank for the fact that I narrowly avoided death once again. His plan excluded me while condemning thousands of others. I don't pretend to understand the complexities of the universe. But it makes me sad that he is dead. I know it's wrong to mourn the death of such a horrible person. But I have him to thank for being here today. Osama Bin Laden is the reason I am alive today, well perhaps one of them. So, I mourn the loss…not of a great man, but of a man who's plans, thankfully, excluded me.