(50) half-mast

A Prowler jet in the VAQ-129 squadron based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island crashed near Spokane yesterday on a training mission, killing all three pilots aboard.

And my heart is so heavy today with this news.

We all know that death is part of being alive. By living we risk dying on a daily basis. And yet, it feels so unnatural, so tragic, so terribly sad.

I feel closer to this tragedy because that was my home. My husband worked on that base, although in a much lower-risk job. If he had been working there yesterday, he would have been among the first to know that a plane wasn’t coming back into the tower pattern.  I may have met the families that heard the worst possible news yesterday, maybe even served them in the restaurant where I worked (didn’t we once cater a change of command party for this squadron?).

So the flags are flying at half-mast today, if not everywhere, then certainly on base and at home in Anacortes.

(photo by Alexander Knapp)

Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy on those who died yesterday. Lord have mercy on their families, friends, co-workers. Be comfort, help, support, peace, hope.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Make me mindful of the precious gift of life you’ve given. Let me be a good steward of life and a good lover of others, leaving no wrong unconfessed or unforgiven.

I know that I will not always be so far removed from loss and grief. Give me grace and strength when those more difficult days come. But thank you that today my husband is safe, even though he is far away. Thank you that my family is alive and surrounding me with love and joy, sometimes in person and sometimes not, but still here, with me.

And in my joy and relief, let me be gracious and mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep. Steady their shaking hands, catch their tears today, Father.

Lord, have mercy on us.

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