I’m always bothered by news reports which classify the survivors of a tragedy as a “miracle.” Consider the Dutch boy on that ill fated Libyan flight. His survival is being hailed as a miracle. But what about the other hundred and three people who died? It wasn’t a miracle for them. The same thing happens when a tornado blows through town, kills a bunch of folks, blows over half the neighborhood. There’s always the shocked couple who exclaim to the news media, “It’s a miracle our house survived!” But not for the other families, I guess.
If a giant hand came out of the sky, grabbing a burning plane on its way to disaster, and gently set it on the ground, saving all aboard — that I could hail as a miracle. But one person or house or family surviving a disaster? That’s just life. That’s just the way life is. To hail every survivor as a miracle is to silently suggest that all those who died were not worthy of being saved, and I think that’s an even bigger tragedy. All of this stems, I think, from the fact that, at least in most of the West, we haven’t learned how to handle death. It’s still something that we eschew at every opportunity. It’s much easier to hail the survivors as a miracle then to mourn the senseless, random deaths of those we love.