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  • Writer's picturekara-duncan

We Did Our Job

Denis recently celebrated his birthday and although I know he’s not much for surprises and being the center of attention, I wanted to do something extra special this year. Anyone that knows Denis knows that he loves movies. After noticing that a local theatre was renting their space for private events, I knew it was a great opportunity to pull together his family and friends together for a show. Because let’s be honest, it’s not every year you can rent a theatre due to Covid, so why not seize some of the advantages that we have? I also knew that he could use a bright spot and memory in the midst of a difficult year. When it came time to reveal the surprise that I had been planning for several weeks he was shocked to say the least – in a good way! I had never seen him react that way – simultaneously shocked and excited at the same time. We met his family and friends at the Strand Theatre and settled in with snacks to watch one of his favorite movies – Sully. Spoiler alert – I’m going to share details of a scene so stop here if you haven’t watched the movie yet and intend to!

Sully, featuring Tom Hanks, is a film based on the true story of an emergency water landing on the Hudson River in 2009 when the aircraft struck a flock of birds that disabled both engines. All 155 passengers and crew survived despite various odds that could have impacted their life and wellbeing. Denis and I watched the movie when it first came out in 2016 so it had been several years since we saw it again. One scene in particular really struck me this time. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles had been facing an investigation from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) due to claims that the plane still had enough power to land back at LaGuardia or Teterboro airport. The 18-month long investigation leads them to a final scene where the room is filled with various NTSB and aircraft professionals along with Sully and Jeff who are gathered to hear the cockpit voice recorder of their stressful, yet miraculous, emergency water landing. When the recording stops, the room remains silent, in awe of the horror of the emergency. Sully and Jeff excuse themselves to take a moment to regain their composure in the hallway. What Sully says to Jeff in the hallway is so endearing. He tells him with heartfelt enthusiasm and steadfast truth, We did this together. We were a team. We did our job.”

In that moment I couldn’t help but imagine that it was as though it were God talking to us in the hallway, as individuals, his children, looking back over our lives and what we’ve done. The Bible is clear that we’ll all give account for how we lived our lives (Romans 14:12), similar to what Sully and Jeff must have felt like in that room. I want to live my life in such a way that I can say I lived my life for the purposes and plans that God has intended for me. Ephesians 2:1- says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” As cheesy as the saying goes, that scene reminds me that God should always be my co-pilot. I’m not meant to try to live my life in my own efforts and in my own strength. I’m meant to follow God’s leading for my life (Galatians 5:25). I’m far from perfect in this area. I often find myself trying to be self sufficient and planning my own ideas and expectations of how I think things should go. It’s a daily devotion and prayer to align myself to follow God’s leading and pray that His will be done, not mine. But wouldn’t it be great to live my life in such a way that I can look back on it and say that I was a team with God? To be able to say, “We did our job, we did it together.” And that’s my prayer for you as well, that you can trust and know that God does have good plans for each and every one of us. That we’re given this life and this day as a gift to be used for His purposes, what He’s created us to do. In this flight called life we need Him to pilot our course and show us how to navigate His plans and purposes for us. Just like Denis was surprised at his event recently, life will shock us all as well. But knowing who our Pilot is and trusting His plans for us will make for a really good story in the end. 😊

(Link to the final scene below if you’d like to see hallway conversation with Sully and Jeff:)

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