Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lentblogging Day 21 - Halfway There, Running on Empty

On August 24, 2001, a commercial airliner ran out of fuel between Toronto, Canada, and Lisbon, Portugal. The Airbus A330 twin had developed a leak in the right engine and was losing about a gallon of jet fuel per second.

The pilots transferred fuel from the left tank to the right tank to balance the load. Unfortunately, all that accomplished was to lose more fuel. They decided to divert to Lajes, in the Azores.

The right engine quit. Commercial aviation belongs to the big twins, and they can fly just fine on one engine. Except, three minutes later, the left engine also flamed out. Without engines, an airliner loses all sorts of nice things like electricity and hydraulics and reverse thrust to help slow down once they land.

Air Transat Flight 236 was now a glider.

Can you imagine being a passenger in an airplane when an engine stops? The captain says everything's okay, the airplane is built to fly on one engine, they're just going to divert as a routine safety measure, and the flight attendants smile.

And then the other engine goes out. This time nobody says anything. The flight attendants are still smiling, but they're strapping on the parachutes you never knew until that moment they had.

The flight crew figured they had 15 to 20 minutes before they would run out of feet between them and the ocean. They were pretty good, though, because they managed to perform a dead stick landing at Lajes, and the story had a happy ending.

The Bear doesn't know about you, but he's out of fuel. He thought about turning around, but it's just as far to his destination airport as it is from his departure airport. But Lent isn't just getting from A to B. It's about leaving A as one person, and arriving at B as someone better.

The problem is, at least with Bears, is that they are quite set in their ways. For Bears, it is their irregular pattern of life. It is adaptive for them. It makes them unpredictable, which is a good thing when people are allowed to kill you with guns upon purchase of a license.

Bears are so unpredictable, there might be one looking through a window of your house at this very moment. Happens all the time. Bears are also stealthy and seldom get caught. There's probably one in your garage; maybe that noise you heard on your roof a few minutes ago. They got bored with Lent a few days ago, you see, and decided to take advantage of the situation while all humans were weak from fasting and busy with prayer and holy reading, just like you are.

What with all that sneaking around and unpredictability, however, it's more than likely that all Bears will end up as the same damn Bears they started out as on Ash Wednesday. If this Bear didn't, it would be the first time in 1300 years.

Here's the gospel. You may have seen it before. God is patient.

1 comment:

  1. Owl started Lent at about 10%. Owl will leave you to figure out where Owl is at.

    Really, though, why is Lent associated with becoming a better person? Where a person arrives at the end of Lent is not in succeeding or failing in progressing with their own life's journeys, but rather they end-up with a man getting executed as an expiation for humanity's sins, both collective and individual. Decisively not about the individual's journey or accompaniment but rather His mission (which is not a journey but a Divinely Ordained deliberately undertaken command that was successfully accomplished. The Son was not a passive participant or a traveler but rather author of all that happened.).

    Lent isn't about giving up bad things so that people can become better people but giving up good things as an act of reparation, as well as preparation for what is coming, along with solidarity and conformity of the People of God to her Head and what He must endure to accomplish the Father's will.

    Things seem to have gotten lost along the way and people now think that giving up meat on Fridays makes people better people.


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