Denis Waitley missed his plane by a few minutes. And it changed his life.

On May 29, 1979 Waitley sprinted to his gate to catch the Los Angeles bound American flight 191. He got there and they had closed the jetway. He begged and pleaded to no avail.

Irritated, he marched to customer service counters to register his irritation. While standing there, the loudspeaker crackled with tragedy. Flight 191 had crashed shortly after takeoff.

Investigators discovered the left engine came off of the wing which caused the plane to roll. It flipped over and the crash claimed all 271 on board. It was the deadliest accident in aviation history.

Waitley stopped his complaining, realizing how close he had come to death. It would change his life.

He saved the unused ticket and mounted it on his office wall. It would remind him of each day he lived beyond that moment.

We ignore our lives, thinking we have others. We are wrong. Each day is fragile.

James heard the boasting of future events which seemed so certain. He reminds us:

“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”” (James 4:14–15)

Days come and go. That means every day we draw breath is a gift of God. Do you treat God’s precious gift with a shrug?

Denis Waitley had his difficult days. All it took was a glance at the unused ticket hanging on the way to remind him that every day is a gift.

Do you see today as God’s gift to you?

-Robert G. Taylor-