Disasters and Beyond

Disasters abroad have been much in the news. It’s hard to imagine the scale of these tragic events, tens of thousands of people dead in what amounts to a very brief time. Such events do have the power to sober us up and perhaps take the opportunity to assess our own place in existence. The fragility of our lives is many times something that we pay little or no attention to. Understandable of course. We don’t want to go around with long faces, filled with anticipatory dread about what might possibly happen.

Still, when the headlines scream out to us about the enormous power of nature to interrupt our lives, we may want to take stock for a bit. The idea is not to get ourselves in a funk, as I noted above, but rather to see the degree to which we can reorient our thinking toward a deeper appreciation of each day, each minute, each breath. Nothing can be taken for granted. While we are surrounded by deep beauty out here, we also know that we are quite vulnerable. It has been many years perhaps since a real natural challenge has come our way. Hopefully that will remain the case.

But, we have to acknowledge that we are not bullet proof. Serious challenges could come our way from both natural and alas human causes. The latest headlines are about natural causes: destructive wind and water in one scenario and an earthquake in the other. We still live in peril from the mysterious ways in which the Earth is altering itself. Because there are so many more people, each event can bring with it much higher tolls in lives and suffering.

So, again, what’s the purpose of focusing on these events which still are far away from us. I guess we could say that it would make sense that we would offer what aid we could to the people who have suffered from the disaster. Beyond that, we can sit with ourselves first and review where we are with our lives. What really matters? How have we perhaps become caught up in petty matters; matters, that were there to be a disaster in our area, would disappear from our concerns in an instant. When we realize how so much of the problems on our agenda of issues don’t really carry any weight and would indeed disappear in the face of such a huge challenge, then we might be moved to take the important step of reordering our priorities.

So now is a time with the images and information fresh in our minds to trim the tree of our concerns. Cut off all those branches that are just dead wood. Clear away everything that wouldn’t survive a real challenge to what is meaningful in your life. Now this wouldn’t save you in a disaster, but it would give you a sense that you had gotten in touch with the real deal about your life. Then sit and share it with the important people in your life. Maybe you can’t make your life disaster proof, but you can make it so much more the life you really want to live. So get up and do that now! And let me know what you think.