Tuesday, December 25, 2007


American two forty one, Atlanta Center, turn right heading two seven zero, vector for traffic. Expect direct Volunteer in one five miles.

Right now -- right this very second -- some air traffic controller somewhere is uttering words very similar to those -- perhaps even those exact words. A pilot, whom the controller has never met, carrying a plane load of people he doesn’t know, will turn the airplane to a heading of 270 degrees and life will go on. For everybody.

It happens thousands upon thousands of times a day. Unceasingly. Never ending. Without fail. Even with all our known frailties, we humans still find the capacity to trust each other. Despite all the technology available to us -- the true miracles of this modern world -- we take comfort in the humanity of strangers. Someone is watching over us. Though he be a stranger, he is a fellow human being. We trust our humanity more than our technology. I find that curiously hopeful. I hope you do too.

The few will watch over the many today. They’ll make sure that our loved ones get where they’re going -- if safely possible. They’ll deal with the misplaced anger if it is not. Some will take solace in the whispered “thank you”s, the slight nod of recognition or the silent smile of thanks they receive from strangers. And some will keep watch, unseen. Just a trusted voice on the radio.

American two forty one, clear of traffic, cleared direct Volunteer.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Don Brown
December 25, 2007

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