Watching the search for Malaysian Flight 300, with its tragic loss of 239 passengers and crew, got me thinking about a broader dynamic that exists in all of us around the world.
Each day has come and gone by in the search for the wreckage of the lost flight and, very surprisingly, nothing on the surface has thus far been found. In recent days, a ping signal from what might be the black box (or flight data recorder) has been faintly picked up deep in the Ocean a few times. And perhaps soon we will be able to recover some of what was lost and begin to discover the truth of what happened.
It seems in our own lives that we also must listen to the "pings" deep within us that tell us our story, and how we might live going forward. So often we struggle to listen to the quiet voices deep in the oceans of ourselves that might tell us the truth and give us direction for the journey ahead. It is those pings in our heart, however faint, that we must search for as we live out our days in a meaningful way.
We often search on the surface to discover evidence of who we are or how we should live, but so often the surface has no real remnants of our truth, or is the adopted waste of someone else's life. We think we have discovered a clue here and there on the surface, but soon realize it wasn't our flight but pieces of another's journey.
It could be from our families, our jobs or former relationships that we gave up our real truth and put on the mantel of those external connections and lost our own way. We pick up something floating on the waves and think we found our truth, but soon discover it is about someone else.
There are moments in our lives when if we sit quietly, or walk slowly, we hear the faint voice or ping of some deeper more profound truth. It could be a moment we take on a park bench, or in an empty hall, and we hear something that we have never heard before or forgot.
It shakes us at first and we enthusiastically look for a stronger signal. At times days or years go by and we can't seem to pick up that ping in our heart that we briefly felt in that moment. Or we hear it intermittently over a few days, and struggle to piece it all together.
We go about our journey, even when we heard that distant voice within telling us our truth, telling ourselves it wasn't real, or that it is so deep it is too much work to discover the black box that can reveal our own meaning and direction. If we don't hear the ping again, often we allow other voices in the world to crowd it out, and we think that voice is gone and the "battery" in our soul's black box has finally run out of energy.
Unlike the lost Malaysian airliner, the batteries in our souls and hearts never die and don't have an expiration date. The shelf life for our pinger is a lifetime. The pings are always sending a signal, however distant, unclear or faint. And it is our job to quiet the noises of life around us, listen quietly, and rediscover the signal that will ultimately tell us our truth. To find our black box that contains the magic still to happen in our flight.
And very different from the search in the Indian Ocean where the goal is to reveal how those dear folks died, the discovery of our black box is to show us how to live. To actually recover from what we believe has died within us of our innocence, our dreams and our hopes. We may have suffered in our family life, or through relationships, or jobs without meaning, but we still have an unlimited capacity to find again what we lost. And live again.
The voice or pinger sending out a soft signal to us from within helps us pinpoint the location of our heart's black box. And then once we discover its location, it is it going to require us to dive deep down to recover the truth within.
And going deep will mean we have to leave others on the surface either going alone or in hand with others who have helped us hear our ping. And depth always involves great pressure that at times feels unbearable from the world around us. We were each given the courage and equipment to make this journey if we just believe and don't give up.
The human journey is about finding our truth, discovering what touches our hearts, what gives us meaning, and the first step is to realize there is a pinger deep down sending us a signal to guide us on our way.
There you have it.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent.
Opinions expressed in this column do not reflect the views of ABC News.