The miracle of redemption

I recently watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel about the landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River. There is also a new movie out about this miracle landing called, Sully. The film focuses on the main hero, Captain Chesley Sullenberger. The Discovery Channel documentary that I watched was fascinating because there were many different aspects of the event that you could interpret as a true miracle.

For instance, the landing of the plane on water necessitated the precision of an 11° touchdown. Captain Sullenberger knew that he must rest the plane down on the water at the speed he was traveling at no other angulation than 11°. Any other angular dissent would result in the fuselage breaking apart resulting in catastrophe.

He brought the plane down right at 11°. That in itself can be explained as a miracle. Another miracle is that there were no casualties. The survivors interviewed in the documentary were very surprised that they did not perish.

In the Discovery Channel documentary there were about a dozen interviews from passengers on the plane. Although individual, they all had a similar collective experience. All of them thought their death was imminent. Another interesting pattern is that each passenger interviewed made a phone call.

They all were compelled to dial the phone for one last time. With no exception every passenger interviewed in the documentary called an immediate loved one. They had one call to make, and not one of them called their stockbroker, or their real estate agent, or their boss at work.

They called home. Each one of them called home to say, “I love you”. Another common expression was, “Forgive me”. Some passengers expressed the miracle had changed how they would live the rest of their lives. They were forever changed in how they perceived the world and their fellow man.

Some of the passengers now ask themselves important questions about how they can be better human beings. How can they be kinder to themselves? How can they be better to their families? How can they be better to society, and the world? Amazing and miraculous transformation was the common collective experience.

This phenomenon is the same as written in Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. The ghost of Christmas future provides Scrooge the opportunity to make a change before it’s too late. How about you? You don’t need to wait in your life for the ghost of Christmas future. Is there someone you need to call?

What do you need to say? To whom do you need to speak? The inspiration for this article is to invite you to make that call that we all need to make. The day after I watched the Discovery Channel documentary I sat down with my wife and told her I loved her. I was inspired by the miracle on the Hudson and the ghost of Christmas future.

The miracle is really one of redemption. Taking the opportunity to forgive yourself and others is healing. There is no need to wait to do it. Best-selling author Steven Covey once said, “No one on their deathbed wished they had spent more time at the office”.

This is good advice. Landing a plane on water exactly at 11° is very difficult. Saying, “I love you” works across all degrees. It requires no precision. Its effect is miraculous.

Matthew McQuaid, DPM is a board certified foot surgeon practicing in Lakeport. He has a particular interest in Mind/Body medicine and its impact on healing. He is an award winning author and teacher. Please share this article with a friend. For more information please call 707-263-3727 and visit

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