I'm a huge believer in the premise that everything happens for a reason.
I've talked about it before - life's chain reaction that happens when you make wrong turns, run late for meetings or strike up a conversation with a stranger in a bar.
Then something significantly horrific happens to challenge my beliefs.
Like the plane crash in Lexington.
This beautiful city ingrained itself in my heart a long, long time ago. I'm a transplant kid, having moved three times by 15. Three moves that spanned four different regions of the country. Lexington was the first place I got to call my own because I picked it myself. I stayed there for 10 years (the longest I've ever lived somewhere) and cherish every minute of it - even the bad times.
I was captivated by the television by about 8:10 Sunday morning. The Today Show did a little blip about it... Plane crash. Lexington. Maybe 50 dead. Details emerging. Blah Blah Blah.
My initial thought was about my Honorary Big Sis. She was a Delta flight attendant up until she had her son in April, and got transferred to the gate agent side of the business. My hope of all hopes came rushing fast, just praying she wasn't at that airport at the time of the crash.
But she was.
HBS was probably one of the last people to see those passengers alive.
My dear friend had a shift change - checking passengers in at Blue Grass Airport early that morning. And she greeted quite a few of those people before they walked on to that plane, without a glimmer of their fate.
HBS is a people person with a heart that knows no bounds for love. With her warm smile and wisecracking sense of humor, HBS quickly endears herself with many of the people she crosses through life, whether it be through a five minute interaction or a life long friendship. There is no doubt in my mind that HBS shared a little bit of herself with some of these crash victims.
Life is full of whys. Why did those people have to get on that plane? Why did something this awful have to happen? Why did that wrong turn have to happen out there on the tarmac?
And then we have to remember our place in this world.
So much of life is really out of control. Honestly, all we can do is just give it up to God and pray we're given the strength and faith to cope with the struggles and heartache we cross as we journey on.
Comair has not yet released the manifest of the victims' names, making a wise choice to confer with the victims' families before revealing their identities to the general public. But already, family members and local businesses in Lexington have come forward, sharing the names of their loved ones and coworkers.
I've always said Lexington is a small town with a big city feel. Spend any reasonable amount of time there and you'll discover the network there is pretty small. I kind of feel like I know just about everybody in Lexington, even if it's in a Kevin-Bacon-Six-Degrees-of-Separation kind of way.
When this crash happened, I just knew I'd know someone on board flight 5191. Maybe I'd know them in a personal sense, maybe I'd know them from newspaper headlines and the kind of gossip that's shared over Maker's and Coke.
It turns out I did know someone.
A man, I'd met only once. I'd seen him at my church in Lexington several times, but my only face to face encounter was at a meeting for my Young Adult bible study. Pat Smith was trying to arrange a trip to Ghana to help build Habitat homes there (I think in 2005) and was trying to drum up some interest in our group.
Pat couldn't help but get me excited about the trip. The way he talked about the work over there - the building of a Christ the King - Ghana, and the engineering of a key pump that would let the village there have clean drinking water. His eyes sparkled as he talked about the children there who loved spending time with the volunteer workers from abroad.
I would have gone in a heartbeat.
It's Pat's passion that we need to make it through this life. A selfless, courageous journey that helps us give ourselves to others while we take a little bit of life's lessons for the road ahead.
I don't know that I'm ready to give up my belief that everything happens for a reason.