You know the story.
On the night of March 8th, a giant Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing shortly before midnight. By 1:40 a.m., just two hours later, the plane and all 239 passengers on board vanished. There were no distress signals, no signs of it on the radar, no trace of where it might be. Simply gone.
As you can imagine, the families of those 239 passengers were left in a limbo of grief, anger and hope that there may still be a chance their relatives were alive. Yesterday, that hope seemingly disappeared with the announcement from Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak that "according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."
Whenever I'm left following an unfathomable tragedy like this, I always feel inclined to look for the lesson. Here, I think, are a few.
Tragedy is still the thing that brings us together the quickest.
We live in a world of divides; political affiliation, religious devotions, sports loyalty and cultural barricades, among many. But one thing we can always relate to is the loss of loved ones. Nearly everyone on the planet has experienced it, and if they haven't -- they can use their imagination. After Flight 370 went missing, we saw the world come together with love, curiosity and hope.
Earth is still an incredibly large place with several 'blind spots' that make losing a 239-passenger plane a possibility.
Sometimes, our obsession with the size of the cosmos can make us forget about the immense size of our own planet. A single cubic mile of water is equal to 1.1 trillion gallons. There are 332.5 million cubic miles of water on our planet, 96.5 percent of which belongs to the ocean. When you consider that number (approximately 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water), it's suddenly not so unbelievable to imagine losing a 61 meter long plane.
As a species, we don't take "no" for an answer.
This is going to be something we puzzle at and try to figure out for years to come. Our society has already spent lifetimes questioning things like God, whether our phones are tapped or if aliens have been to our planet. So when something that must have an answer goes unanswered, we will stop at nothing to figure it out.
Consumers of television news (me and you) have ADD.
Every week there is a new story that captivates us and dominates our television, newspapers, tweets, conversations and so forth. One week it is Richard Sherman, the next it is Vladimir Putin, and the last few weeks it has been a missing airplane. Throughout the hundreds of hours of coverage, a lot of garbage has been put out there. While there is certainly some coverage worth your time, a good bit of it is speculation, misinformation and downright laughable. It is important to acknowledge that, as the reliable Jon Stewart did last night.
You simply never know.
It gets repeated whenever an incident like this happens, but that's only because it is something worth repeating. Every moment of our time spent in this life is precious, and the next minute or hour or day is never a guarantee. When I think of the hundreds of families affected by this mysterious tragedy, I think of all the ways I can honor them: telling my family and friends I love them, taking advantage of each moment I have, and keeping your everyday stress in perspective.
Follow Isaac Saul on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Ike_Saul