2004-12-30 tsunami ripples

Waves of chance and change

I have this thing that I do when something like the Tsunami Disaster happens. I glue myself to CNN, to the news, watching scenes of horrific devastation and suffering over and over again until my head is exploding with the misery of it all. I know I shouldn't, I know it can't be good for me. I think I think that by watching it over and over, by examining it from every angle imaginable, by immersing myself whole, that somehow I'm going to be able to understand it and "cure" myself of it somehow. Make it all okay.

But, of course, that doesn't happen. It just makes me sad and numb and then, gradually, angry. Earlier this evening, I wrote a glib, snippy entry about that. It was essentially about how all of this horror is making me feel guilty about feeling good, and guiltier still about feeling bad when the biggest things I have to complain about today is the enormous zit that developed on my chin overnight, how the Handsome Guy took the last of my Christmas Turtles to work with him leaving me chocolate-less, and how everytime I think I've managed to rid myself of my cold, it flares up on me again.

And then I deleted it. And the Handsome Guy and I had a long discussion about how I was feeling.

As usual, he socked me between the eyes with his clear-eyed wisdom.

"Why are you trying to seek comfort in this?" he asked me pointedly. "You are never going to find comfort in the suffering of others. You are never going to find a way to make this okay. You are never going to find a way to make this less uncomfortable. It should be uncomfortable."

Bingo. That's exactly what I've been trying to do. Find a way to make this make me feel less uncomfortable. Which is utterly ridiculous, of course. It's not going to happen. It's horrible. It's tragic. It's sad. It's uncomfortable. That is the very nature of disaster.

I think that, somehow, if I make myself feel bad enough about it, I'll have paid my penance and be absolved of my uncomfortable feelings about it. But that doesn't happen. i just watch until I feel sick and then eventually I start feeling mad and resentful that all this tragedy has been inflicted on the world (on me!!).

So what to do then? It's simple really. Acknowledge that it's awful, that it's sad and tragic and makes me feel uncomfortable on a zillion different levels. Then act on it. Do whatever I can to help ( ..." and by that I don't mean we should sell all our worldly possessions and fly over there to help," Jack added with his usual pragmatism. "Trust me, they don't want us over there. We'd just get in the way, get run over, get drowned, get a sliver... it would not be good.") and be grateful for what I have.

If there is any comfort or understanding to be gained from this, it is that we are all connected. A tsunami hits Southeast Asia, thousands and thousands of miles away, but we all feel the ripples. The world is literally rocked on its axis and galvanized into action. For a moment we stop thinking about Britney Spears' trashy wedding and whether or not Lindsay has implants and whether or not "Desperate Housewives" is new this week and we look at those people who have lost everything... their homes, their spouses, their children and dogs, their restaurants and jobs and televisions and we try to imagine ourselves in their place. We feel the horror, the sadness, the loss, if only for a moment. And it makes us uncomfortable.

But it makes us human too. And maybe, just maybe, it makes us a little bit better. Maybe it makes us examine our own paths, ask ourselves what more we can give. Maybe it makes us hold on to life just a little tighter. Maybe it makes us pause and reflect on all that is good and worthwhile.

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions really. But this year, I'm making some.

I'm going to find ways to give more... more of my time, more of my money, more of my life. I'm going to try to be more grateful, to hold on to what's important. I'm going spend more time just being still, listening to my heart, listening to the world.

And sometimes, I will let myself be touched by the ripples. But I won't be knocked over.

Mundane Maintenance: I'm slowly but surely moving all my links from the right hand column to a seperate "Lavish Link Library". So if you notice that your link has suddenly disappeared, fret not. It will soon reappear there. And if you feel it's about high bloody time I added you, drop me a comment!

Am also seriously pondering what to do with this site, whether I should maintain it as is or fianlly make the splurge and get my own domain. Actually, I am definitely getting my own domain to be operated as a "professional site" with a full portfolio in lieu of the sad haphazard little one I maintain here, but can't decide whether to keep my blog here at diaryland or move that to the new site (when it happens) too. I dunno. Whaddya think?

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