Powerful Words from a Peaceful Place: One Man’s Unexpected Reaction to the Disappearance of Flight 370
Like most of the world, I have been actively following the news stories of the missing Malaysian jetliner. I have refreshed the internet pages of many different news outlets, hoping for headlines revealing new leads, developments in theories, and uncovered clues. I have looked at the satellite images of what could be either debris from plane or merely a cargo casualty, read the interviews with residents of various islands who have reported sights and sounds of what they believed to have been the Boeing jet, and considered the opinions of various experts on the plane's trajectory, and what this could have meant. One type of news report pertaining to this unbelievable story that I have had a much more difficult time reading, however, is the stories about the families of the passengers aboard Flight 370.
The families' reactions have been an integral and heavily covered aspect of the missing plane. And rightfully so, these people are real life characters in a situation that seems only possible in a movie, book or television drama series. They have been living for over two weeks with essentially no information as to what happened to their loved ones, or even real clues as to where their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, co-workers and friends have gone. The headlines reveal that family members of the passengers are shocked, devastated, scared, frustrated, worried, and angry. Mothers have wept openly during press conferences. Relatives have protested and put pressure on the government for more answers. Even from an outside perspective, these emotions and reactions are understandable, because these people are living a nightmare. It is nearly impossible, in fact, for me to imagine a friend or relative's reaction to the missing plane that does not involve negative emotions. Thankfully, my imagination does not govern reality.
K.S. Narendran's wife, Chandrika, was on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Like all of the other friends and family members of those aboard the flight, he continues to wait for answers. Unlike most of the other loved ones of the passengers, and most of the world, however, he has taken a different approach to this limbo. Mr. Narendran has chosen to avoid coverage of the situation, and instead reflect inwardly to cope. He wrote of his thoughts, sharing them first with close friends and family. Eventually, he agreed to share them with the world as well, in an article on CNN.com
. Mr. Narendran's words are breathtaking, and exhibit a tremendous amount of strength and faith in the face of an overwhelming situation. He speaks about his wife's goodness, and his firm belief that such courage and
kindness must "count for something" in this situation. He explains that, "with every passing day and each fragment of information that comes in, we revise the narrative strung together, and articulate the new set of perplexing and urgent questions that inevitably come up." He acknowledges that, as individuals, we can do little but wait patiently for information that will help bring final answers.
Finally, and perhaps most impressively, Mr. Narendran recognizes that his reaction is his alone, and that he does not claim it to be a superior method of dealing with this situation, nor does he attempt to convince others that it is the proper coping mechanism for them. His words are not judgmental or divisive, they do not admonish or preach. He does not chastise those relatives who have been outspoken about their anger or grief, or those who have been vocal in their search for answers. He articulates his innermost thoughts and emotions on what must be the most deeply personal tragedy he has ever encountered, with no motive other than to share his own experience, with both those who can understand what he is going through, and those who cannot.
As K.S. Narendran himself suggested, his words may not be for everyone. I, for one, find them to be a moving reminder of the power of faith, peace, and inner strength, and how sharing these calming and positive sentiments in a candid and sincere way can place a new perspective on even the darkest and most difficult situations. I will keep his words in mind as the news about Malaysian Flight 370 continues to unfold, and remember that what is really at stake in this story is not about proving or disproving theories, but about bringing truth and closure to those whose lives have been deeply disturbed by this troubling situation.