My Dad was in a crash yesterday when landing his airplane.
He survived and is recovering in a Seattle hospital as I write this.
When my brother Rob told me, I wanted details, and they were sketchy. He crashed in Lake Whatcom, no, he crashed in a field in Eastsound. He was alone, no, he was with another pilot. He was in a coma, no, just sedated.
I guess like everyone else, I wanted enough information to decide if he was going to be ok. Maybe the sooner I knew he was going to be ok, the sooner I would know if *I* was going to be ok.
And that’s what many people around the world want right now with their well wishes and prayers for Dad.
Actually, they can find the answer at the heart of every book he has written.
“Am I going to be ok?” Flip to the end, the answer is usually “yes”, even if the main character dies a few pages before reaching the back cover.
I think Dad would agree that whether the answer to “Am I going to be ok?” is yes or no, lies a test. It’s not the answer that matters, but the pursuit of the answer.
Testing is that pursuit.
Dad knows I have made a great living as a software tester for a long time, and he thinks it a fitting career choice, especially given my seagull namesake.
“What is the truth?” or “What might the truth be under different circumstances?” is akin to “Where are the bugs?” or “How might this software cause problems for our customers?”
Seventeen years as a software tester has taught me that a problem is the difference between what you want and what you get. If they are the same, there’s no problem.
There are so many quotes from Dad that I could use in metaphor for this, but the ones that come to mind are from Illusions, particularly these excerpts from the “Messiah’s Handbook”:
There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.
Dad is alive.
I credit him with having taught me the value of seeing Coincidence.
And, true-to-form, as soon as I typed that, I stopped to give my eyes a rest from the screen.
I looked up at the TV.
CNN was playing an interview with George Bush senior (president from ’88 to ’92).
They showed him driving a boat very fast, and he said:
“I’ve been in boats all my life. You learn the currents, you learn the shoal waters. That’s where I’m at peace, I just love it. With boats, I’m still in the game. I’m privileged to have a very fast boat a very powerful boat — everyone wants to go on it — it’s a wonderful, wonderful outlet for me.”
For my Dad, it is airplanes and writing.
Now that he’s injured, his ability to do those is in jeopardy.
There’s a test for him.
I don’t know if he’ll be ok, or to what extent, but there’s comfort for me in knowing he’s made a good living writing stories that show the world that the answer can be “yes”.