Summary: This message is about how our faith helps the impossible to become possible because with God all things are possible if we believe.
The Impossible Becomes Possible
How many of you have ever heard of Chesley Sullenberger? How many of you have ever heard about the pilot that landed the Airbus A320 in the Hudson River after a flock of Canadian geese flew into the engines? How many of you know that it is supposed to be impossible for a plane to “ditch” in water and all passengers survive? How many of you know that prior to Capt. Sullenberger doing it, it is rumored to have only happened once in Russia in the early 1960s? I just asked you four questions that maybe you knew the answer to one or two of them. If I asked you if you ever heard of Sully, some of you (depending on your age) probably would have recognized this name. If you are younger you might have thought of Sulley from the movie, Monster’s Inc. However, the adults would have remembered what happened on January 15, 2009.
On that January day in 2009, Capt. Sullenberger was pilot in command of US Airways Flight 1549 that took off from LaGuardia Airport. Shortly after takeoff, the plane struck a large flock of Canada geese and lost power in both engines. Quickly determining he would be unable to reach any airport, Sullenberger piloted the plane to a water landing on the Hudson River. All aboard were rescued by nearby boats. He was the last one to exit the plane after ensuring that all the passengers were safely out. After the incident and the following investigation, Sully became a national hero to everyone except himself. Although the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dubbed him “Captain Cool” because of how calm he was in handling the crisis, Sullenberger suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in subsequent weeks, including sleeplessness and flashbacks. He said that the moments before the ditching were “the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling” that he had ever experienced. He also said: “One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.” Capt. Sullenberger believed that he could land that plane on the Hudson River and he did!
I have flown many times and I will tell you that when the flight attendants began their safety briefings I usually tuned them out because I had heard the message so many times. That being said, I have always paid attention to the part about in case of a water landing the seats could be used as a floatation device. I always wondered why they bothered to deliver that part of the message because everyone knew that planes cannot land on water without breaking apart. However, if it did happen and since there could be survivors who would need that seat cushion I listened just in case. But keep in mind that I have seen many movies of planes crashing in water, tearing apart, sinking and almost everyone perishing. I had not seen one movie where this did not happen. So when the flight attendants got to this part of their presentation my mind went to “you’re wasting your breath because planes do not land on water!” This is the movie that played through my mind for years up until January 15, 2009. On January 15, 2009, I, along with the rest of the world, witnessed a plane landing on water without tearing apart and all of the passengers surviving. Seeing that on TV erased all of the movies I had seen of planes crashing in the water. Before January 15, 2009 the movies in my mind showed that it was impossible for planes to land on water. However, I now have a new movie playing. The impossible became possible. The title of my message this morning is “The Impossible Becomes Possible.”