Monday, May 2, 2011

A Breath Away From...

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.


  1. It is strange, sometimes, to think in our lives of close calls or other "what ifs". What if, when I was 12, the guy who hit me with his car had been going a little faster? What if I'd never taken that internship in CO and met my husband? So I can see how this what if in particular would move you.

  2. I have to agree with the what ifs of life and close calls with death and can understand where you are coming from on this.

    I was almost hit by a motorcycle getting off the bus in kindergarten by a man who used the railroad track by our house as a ramp to jump his bike. (He later jumped into a tractor trailer that was crossing the road and died.) I also almost drown while going tubing in the Potomac. (thank goodness for neighbors and and ex that still cares to pull me out from under the current.) And last summer, if I had not had a helmet on during the infamous Vespa crash it could have been my skull split open on the sidewalk instead a scratch on my helmet.

    And the pivotal choices, there are too many! If I would have gone to college after school or if Mom wouldn't have walked out, I would never have ended up in Hagerstown.

    It's the chaos theory at work in all of our lives. Bin Laden was a part of that, whether we admit it or not.

  3. I had issues with America's reaction to his death. While I cannot mourn him, I also cannot rejoice in the death of another, no matter how evil that person may be. Do I think the world is a safer place without him? To a degree, yes, excluding those who will try to avenge his death.
    On the God issue, you know where i stand. I don't think God picks and chooses who lives and dies; he gave Adam and Eve free will in the garden and he gives it to us every day, hoping we will make the right choices but already knowing what we will do. I don't necessarily believe God saved you that day, it was circumstances, but I don't think Bin Laden saved you either. Either way, I am glad you are here!