The Crash

Last Tuesday, March 24, like many I woke up to news that a Germanwings flight had crashed into the French Alps. Like many other plane crashes before there was speculation as to what might have happened, some kind of catastrophic engine failure or a drop in the air cabin pressure even a fire in the cockpit and in the current climate,  maybe it was terrorism. Then the unexpected news came that it was one of the pilots, Andreas Lubitz, who for some unknown reason locked the other pilot out of the cabin and then began to take the plane into a long dive that would end with them crashing into the Alps. There are many, much smarter folk than me out there piecing together what happened and I am definitely not going to try and analyze this terrible tragedy but it has caused me to reflect on our general state as human beings. In the days following this crash it has been discovered that Andreas was allegedly depressed and apparently hid this condition from his employers. Again, as in the case of Robin Williams, we are faced with the dark spectre of depression and how it can and does affect a person, yet in the case of Robin, when he committed suicide he only took his one life. Tragic as that was, he did not consider it necessary to take another life. He did leave a huge hole in the hearts of his many fans and especially in the hearts of his family but at least their lives still continue, a bit broken but nevertheless, alive. The Germanwings pilot, on the other hand, took another 149 souls with him as he crashed that plane into the mountains. It is so hard to imagine what it might have been like in those final moments as the plane descended and it became increasingly clear that they were not going to recover. According to sources the other pilot, having been locked out of the cockpit began to pound on the door maybe even trying to break it down. The passengers and crew were probably watching, most of them stunned, not really believing what was happening. The schoolkids from Germany, returing home from a trip to Spain, were probably all excited to be heading home eager to tell their families, friends and classmates about the trip when suddenly it dawned on them that something was terribly wrong. Every person on that flight had a future, they probably had calendars full of birthdays, anniversaries, planned vacations and maybe even a family reunion or two. Someone might have been getting ready for a wedding, another eager to see that special someone who they hoped would be asking to spend the rest of their life with them. All of those dreams, those plans, those hopes, those special futures now a wasteland of debris scattered over the French Alps. It is now, for Christians, Holy Week. It is that time when liturgically we begin to follow Jesus as he goes from the hero like entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to his final breath hanging from a cross on Golgatha. For those families who lost a loved one on Flight 9525 they have moved into their own Holy Week. The darkness that clouded the heart of Lubitz has now descended like a dark angel over the hearts and souls of those who weep and anguish over this loss. There really are no answers, try as some will, the reality is that we will never know what Lubitz was thinking on that day. About the only thing we can do, really, the only thing that I can do is pray for the victims, their families and also for Andreas Lubitz, it is afterall the least we can do as we pick up the pieces and move ever forward.

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