Saturday, January 16, 2010
A week the world's eyes misted...
Some will ask "Why?", as if the answer will bring some comfort, or some explanation that the human mind can grasp. It seems that precious moments are lost in asking such questions.
We live on a planet that is dynamic and changing. Its position in space changes in every nanosecond. We circle the sun and move through space as part of larger "wholes" - the solar system, the galaxy. As those of us who cherish the out-of-doors know so well, the atmosphere is in constant flux - for that is the very nature of weather. The oceans and seas are never still. They are subject to the action of the winds, the currents, the waves and the tides. The very substance of the earth, terra firma, is a dynamic substance. Natural forces within the earth, push and shove and lift, moving the very matter of which this planet is made. It is not difficult to imagine that this sphere, upon which we live and have our being, is still "groaning" from its birth pains, billions of years ago.
So asking "Why?" seems moot, even pointless.
In Haiti, the earth moved, structures fell, and people have died in unimaginable numbers. The infrastructures that existed are gone. "After shocks" have already come in the form of a scarcity of food, clean water, adequate shelter, and the challenges facing those who would provide humanitarian aid.
The only question that matters is, "What now?" How do we, each of us, from our own small corner of the world, help? How do we bring some degree of comfort to a devastated island? How do we assure the survivors that they are not, and will not be, alone?
At best, we can enable and empower those whose wisdom, experience and skills will most effectively bring immediate assistance. To do that we must provide resources and ensure the political will is focused. And at the very least, we can redefine for ourselves and for one another what is important in life. That very action leaves us more energy to do what is essential in the world to care for one another. If we do not gain perspective from this event, we have not understood its magnitude.
As we look out to sea, knowing that we must not feel helpless, we know one thing. We must all work very hard to discern that life, as a human community, interconnected with the natural world, is not about "us"...it is about "all of us", all who share this fragile island planet. Perhaps that realization is the first and most fundamental step.
In peace and with hope,