Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Aftermath

Current hurricanes and events discussed recently in a news group sent my mind back over the past few years. As I looked back, tears filled my eyes and dread still fills my heart. This article has not lost it's meaning. In fact, the situation becomes more urgent every day. We all must do all we can to curb the current trends.

Hurricane Katrinas Aftermath

This was written after Hurricane Katrina, with all the attendant destruction and loss of life. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, the lack of early response and the attendant suffering and deaths make it very hard to come to grips with.

There is an old saying that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are no psychological profile tests given to the leaders we elect. We only learn the truth of their strengths and weaknesses after a catastrophe of such magnitude. Perhaps part of the blame for this is the Pollyanna attitude that “it will never happen to me”. Well, it can happen to anyone and is happening more and more everywhere. Last month, six commercial airplanes fell from the sky. There have been fires, floods, disease and all sorts of natural disasters piled on top of wars, political actions, rebellions and just plain anarchy.

I believe the world as we knew it ended on 9/11. Our innocence was lost, not to be regained. Until we stop ravaging our earth, the catastrophes will not stop. Until we use better judgment in our elected leaders, more and more people will be lost each time.

If we don’t soon start to deal with the roots of the problems, it surely will be the end of the world. Civilizations rise and civilizations fall, but never before with such devastation to our planet.

There is no sane way to view what is happening. Every thinking person on the planet is experiencing feelings of helplessness. We give until it hurts, then give a little more, but it is never enough! If we don’t find a way of thinking about these things, and doing what we can, we will collapse into madness trying. When I think about how different my world was as a child, the change is staggering, and happening so rapidly that I can not even catch my breath. Today’s children will live as adults in an even more changed world.

The only thing that saves my sanity and allows me to get up each morning and do whatever little thing I can, is the knowledge that there is a higher power, a higher purpose, that we cannot even begin to understand.

My role, my life can only be counted as a success if I bring positive change in the world that I touch. This is a very small world, but if we do nothing, it will rapidly become smaller. Individually, we cannot effect any great change for the better, but as an army of voices, perhaps we can at least lessen the damage by even a small amount.

Our children are our hope. We need to pay attention to them, try to raise them with an understanding and an appreciation for nature, life in general, and our fellow human inhabitants. Magic filled my world. We had no money, but we had so much love. The things I learned at my grandparent’s knee have lasted me all my life. The little, seemingly unimportant things, make the biggest impact. Who knows what ripples are caused by little acts of kindness.

An example of this is seen in my grandmother’s philosophy, that she lived by all her life. I lived with my grandparents for quite a while as a small child. They lived in a small clapboard house on a quarter acre of land cut from the public fairgrounds, built for my great, great, grandmother who was the first white woman in that small village.

They had been farmers, and my grandfather hunted, trapped for furs and did some blacksmith and carpentry work for a little money. In their golden years, when they could no longer farm, they moved into that little house with no electricity, or running water.

In fact, there was no water, it had to be dipped from the well across the street, and carried home by the bucket full. They grew a small garden, had chickens for eggs and Sunday dinner, a cow for milk, and a pig for winter meat. A neighbour half a mile away lived with an alcoholic husband and struggled to feed her children. Many times, my grandma would dress me as warmly as possible, wrap a cape around me and send me off with a basket of eggs or a quart of milk or a pound of butter for this lady and her children. As a result of my grandmother’s example, I have always tried to be open handed, giving away the last of what I had on more than one occasion. The Creator has always looked after me, not often providing what I wanted, but always providing what I needed, usually at the very last moment.

As I said, magic filled my world, but these days, magic has almost disappeared from the lives of children. Any time we can return some of that magic to them, we are helping them to grow up dreaming big, trusting in the Creator to provide, and having an open heart and an open hand in their dealings with the world. We cannot know what ripple effects it will have, only that it will be good.


Liara Covert said...

This post reminded me of a recent talk by Joel Osteen. He spoke about moving beyond the "survial mentality." He also included an example of having encountered s person wearing a T-shirt that read, "I survived hurricane Katrina." He said he understood the implied message this person wanted to convey (i.e. one of triumph over adversity), and yet, the whole idea of survive reiterates struggle. In order to move beyond negative mindsets and self-sabotaging thought processes, people are encouraged to step outside that tense 'fight against or defeat it' mentality.

Zareba said...

Hi Liara.

Thank you for your comment.
As always, we learn from all that makes us think, and you make me think.

Growth requires struggle of a sort. We need to make an effort to rise above the easy path. The free will we have allows us to choose the easy way, or the baser instincts, or to take the high road. There is nothing to force us to grow in any given lifetime. The choice is always ours.