The part of the story that is disturbing for me is that as the passengers were scrambling off the airplane many of them could be seen carrying suitcases or bags. One passenger took video of the events inside the plane during the evacuation and in it many could be seen opening overhead bins to retrieve bags before leaving the aircraft, even as flight attendants were yelling at them to leave their luggage and get off the plane as quickly as possible. When I read about this my reaction was, are you kidding? How dumb can you be?
This incident made me wonder if we humans are way too tied to our possessions. Perhaps we could chalk this up to not thinking clearly during a dire emergency, yet it happens so frequently according to the NTSB that it is more likely a severe case of misplaced priorities. Twenty years ago as a raging brush fire threatened our home we were told to evacuate with very little notice. We had minutes to gather a few belongings and get out of our house, knowing that it was quite possible that our house and whatever was left in it was going to burn to the ground. I discovered that despite our attachments to our things there was actually very little that was important enough to me to take the time to pack. We actually ended up packing our family photo albums and enough clothes to live in for a few days, and we left.
That experience reminded me of what really matters. As long as our family was safe then I knew that everything would be all right. We might suffer some physical losses, but those could be made up eventually. Reading about the incident of the Emirates airline crash served as a reminder to me to view life through the lens of what really matters. Could it be that our attachments to the stuff of this world actually endanger our souls as much as they might endanger our bodies in an emergency? I believe that is true. Our attachment to stuff tends to make us more easily threatened, more stressed, and throws priorities completely out of whack. And most important, it makes our relationship with God seem somehow less real and less important. If I view my life somewhat like I’m trying to escape a burning plane, I suspect I’m going to travel a lot lighter. I will see more clearly that the people in my life are what matter, the rest of the stuff, while it may be nice, in the end is expendable. And it certainly is not what makes our lives full.