Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making Sense Of Tragedy

When the earthquake hit Haiti last week, I was sitting in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City before a mass began. I like churches, especially when they are quiet and I can have a moment to myself. I did not know until later that day what had happened only a three-hour plane ride from where I live. When the tsunami hit in 2004, I was in southern India on a boat at the time. Other parts of the state I was visiting were affected, but what I saw was how beautiful the sky and the water were that day.

For me, these moments are reminders of how tenuous life can be. None of us know if or when tragedies like these will happen to us, or people we know. No matter how much knowledge we acquire about the world around us, we always find ourselves in situations that are beyond our scope of understanding. It is the one thing that unites us as human beings, and but we all have different ways of living through it. After years of taking life for granted, I have learned to be humble and grateful for each day I have in my life.

When natural disasters and violence among human beings happen, I manage not to fall into despair by trying to see the good that comes with the bad as a result of these terrible situations. For me, the best thing that has come from the recent earthquake in Haiti is the outpouring of support that people from all over the world are giving to the island country. I just saw a news report about an engaged couple who are donating money, which they set aside for food for their wedding, to Haitian earthquake relief. The happy couple will be dining on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of the typical, high-priced fare, and it was a wonderful reminder to me of how giving we as human beings can be.

Do you try to make sense of tragic events? Why or why not?

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