Processing Tragedy

November 12, 2013 § 2 Comments


So you’re going along your merry way ~ or maybe it’s even not so merry, because life is damn sure full of potholes, but you’re going along dealing with your world, your daily ups and downs, your struggles, your joys, and then tragedy strikes in a faraway place where you don’t know a soul but you feel it in your bones; you feel this heartache, this profound compassion for their loss and suffering.

And there it sits, staring at you, looking over your shoulder, challenging you to do something, anything, that will matter. At the same time questioning whether any of this matters – this life, this world, with all its glories and its faults, so easily, violently destroyed. Begging you to get a grip on what’s really important, to check your perspective, to remind you that life can turn on a dime so you’d best love those you love with all your heart and soul and value what’s worth valuing and for God’s sake be good to one another because we’re all in this boat together, this sea of life, this beautiful, painful, magnificent life.

And what do you do with that tragedy staring at you from across the globe? Where do you put it, how do you process it? I think it falls into the category of things we just can’t comprehend. Things too great and horrible. But in not comprehending, do we dismiss it? No ~ we are aware, oh so aware, of the roof over our own head, the blanket on our bed, and we take a moment to be grateful, to acknowledge all that we have to be thankful for. We hug our children and count our blessings. But for a twist of geographical consequence it could have been me, or you, or a loved one, and how impossible that is to fathom, the magnitude, the fear, the agony. But for a twist of time, a moment in the right or wrong place, this or that awful thing might have happened to me, or to you. And even while we are safe, we still feel ~ something, deep in our gut ~ for those who’ve been less fortunate in life’s seemingly impersonal doling out of good and bad. Is that our interconnectedness? Because we can’t hear tragic news without feeling for them. And we do feel for them. We pray for them. We pray for their healing and welfare and that some mighty power of goodness and light will shower them with the help they need. We hope. We pray.

Some of us will give money, clothing, supplies. Some will just up and go, in person, do whatever they can. Some will write about it. We’ll wish these things didn’t happen. Some will dwell and stew on the horror and unfairness, some won’t let it go much deeper than surface level. The truth is we all have a different capacity for processing things, different points of saturation, different approaches, different degrees of self-preservation. There is no right or wrong way, but to care, however we can. Here, now.


For those who want to donate time or dollars, click here for links to 9 ways to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

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