Disaster is a series of painstakingly slow and drawn out emotions experienced in quick succession. A matter of split seconds of actual impact lasts an entire lifetime. I better understand the saying my life flashed before my eyes; however, I've never heard anyone describe quite what that experience is like and how it impacted them. At a young age, I was in a plane crash. I have shared the story many times but whenever I would, I stopped short of expressing the anguish, sadness, and grief I experienced in that disaster. I would get through explaining the crash itself but wouldn't allow myself to go any further because I was afraid to admit that in that moment I lost my faith in God.
I opened my eyes, was helped out of the plane by my father, then began swearing at the sky. "F*ck you!" I screamed amongst other obscenities. I suddenly plunged into darkness, severing my relationship with the light by finding company in anger. According to The Way, "Anger causes a complete and instant disconnection from the Light... Whatever the specific circumstances, we're convinced that we've received some pain or insult we didn't deserve" (Berg 144). Since "disaster" suggests a negative outcome, I want to reframe my working definition to encapsulate this tone: Disaster is a series of painstakingly slow and drawn out emotions experienced in quick succession that severs our connection to the light by increasing our death anxiety and anger.
We plummeted down, though I didn't realize it was a plummet until we were already midway through it. In fact, I wasn't aware we were crashing until my father turned around. I saw fear as he checked if my seat belt was on, guilt as he contemplated the pain my mother would suffer losing her father, husband and son on one fateful day, grief at being partially responsible for the decision to fly that day, terror at the possibility of losing his only son. It was in that moment my own panic set in, my deepest fear - death - realized and quickly approaching.
In those mere seconds, I contemplated The End. I selfishly wanted more life; it was unfair that it was being taken from me so early. How could God destroy me so soon? Was I made wrong? Was I a mistake? I can't say for certain if these were questions that passed through my mind exactly, but through much reflection and soul-searching, I came to understand that these are the questions that have followed me as my shadow throughout my life. At least, those are the questions being asked by my Constantly Harping Internal Commentary Option (CHICO).
You see, since the day of the crash, that voice in my head became the biggest adversary in my life that often left me crying in a corner in the fetal position (literally and figuratively). After I closed my eyes and accepted my death at 11 years old, disaster happened. I woke up and the voice in my head told me You should be dead. In my haste, I got out of the wreckage of the plane that day and announced my allegiance against God. I swore at the sky with words of anger, hatred and rage. I failed to see the miracle of life, the mercy of God as I looked over the wreckage. I misunderstood the voice in my head, cheering for my destruction, to be that of God's. It is time for me to stop seeing the plane crash as a disaster and instead reframe it as a miracle.
What miracles and/or disasters have you experienced in your life?
How has the voice in your head helped you determine if it was a miracle or disaster?
If you experienced a disaster, did you find your way back to seeing it as a miracle?
Embrace the miracle of life,