What If You Had Been on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302?
It was Junior, on his usual phone call to us from across the Atlantic, who told us about the tragedy. He began straight off with: “Maa, why is Uncle and Ahmad all over the news?”
Princess and I had spent last Sunday the 9th of March attempting gluten free bread for the nth time. Each time we do, we always give ourselves hope that the end product will come out, at the very least, edible let alone tasting like real bread. JD had decided it was the History Channel for him so we missed the breaking news.
You see, we happen to be closely related to one of the two fortunate people who missed their flight to Nairobi from Addis Ababa that day and escaped death. Our local news channels and print media-as well as international- were all over the story. Not to take away from the gravity of the situation and the grief of those who lost loved ones but who knew that something as inconvenient, frustrating and ordinary as flight delay and missing your flight could turn out to be literally a matter of life and death?
To say that Ahmad’s parents and family (myself included) were filled with an enormous sense of gratitude, thanksgiving and humbleness before Allah is one huge understatement. You marvel at modern day ‘miracles’ such as these.
Yet, what if?
What if I or you had been one of those 157 people who perished on Sunday?
It is not too improbable. After all, I am quite certain that, as they packed their bags, checked their phones, hugged goodbye their near and dear, held their boarding passes glad for the window seat, I am quite certain that none of them realised that they would soon be a part of aviation statistics; that soon memorials and tributes would be made in their names and that they would never get to their intended destinations.
Who is to say?
Immortality is promised to none of us as much as we desire and strive for longevity.
So then, what unfinished business do you have?
Have you left important things unsaid?
Do you have debts to pay; projects you have been putting off because you are too scared to fail or cared too much what others think?
How about amends? Who have you hurt who you need to apologise to? Who has hurt you that you need to forgive for your own liberation and peace of mind?
Still angry at your parents , fighting with your wife, not there for your kids- not there for yourself?
What about your legacy? What do you want to be remembered for? Someone who genuinely cared for others, concerned about the environment, helped those less fortunate?
What about your most important relationship? The relationship with the One who created you? Have you been faithful to Him in the truest sense of the word?
Who knows what tomorrow, -or indeed the next moment- will bring?
If I or you had had a seat on Flight 302, would our affairs have been in order?