THE PROMO for a popular news program startled me. The producers promised the viewer something amazing: Every 15 minutes they would feature new headlines. It was probably a way of assuring the audience that they would be informed of whatever news was happening at any given time. But I was sobered to realize that most of those new headlines would likely focus on what went wrong that day, rather than on what went right. Viewed from that perspective, life could feel pretty unsettling.
While praying the next morning, though, I looked out the window of my high-rise apartment and saw traffic on the interstate a couple of miles away. It occurred to me that during the rush hour, tens of thousands of cars would pass by without incident—and several hundred thousand by the end of the day. And yet, if there was an accident, the local news would focus on that tragedy in a way that might make us forget the abundant evidence that the freeway is essentially a safe place. The complete record would reflect the fact that accidents are not the norm, but an aberration.
So how can we learn to live with an expectation of security in light of the aberrations? Obviously this relates not only to travel, but also to our expectations about our health, our finances, and safety in general.