I don't know about you, but I'm becoming inured to tragedy. It seems like every time I read a newspaper (which is daily), there is a little tragedy or a big one, tucked into a page.
Superstorms. Shooting sprees. Abandoned animals or children. Dire predictions of the future. I find myself skimming past it all. I've read it all before, right? We grow scabs over the wounds and pretty soon tough scar tissue develops there. It takes something very personal, very close to home, to make us remember that there are real people in there, suffering, real people/animals/creatures, who need help.
I've been involved in a forced evacuation (apartment caught on fire and we had to flee, taking our pets and a bag of clothing). We were able to salvage most of our belongings with minimal damage, but I'll never forget being homeless for a few days.
My town was involved in a massive flood, one of epic proportions. It didn't make the national news, not the way New Orleans did. But here we are, 4 years later, and the town is 90% rebuilt and all that remains are the memories and the high water marks on buildings, most of them near the second story. I wasn't directly affected but a lot of people I know were.
I've been in a blizzard, where I was snowed in for 3 days and had to walk to a grocery store for food because no plows could come through.And I've just been through a drought that had us wondering if there was enough water in the well.
I know someone who was murdered. I know someone who was raped. I know someone who was in war and came home badly scarred, mentally and physically. I know someone who was stalked. I've heard about their terror, the helpless feeling of rage that the authorities can't do anything, the feeling of hopelessness.
There is a human face to tragedy, but sometimes we have to pause and realize that it's there. It's not in a headline or a picture or an interview. It's sometimes as simple as remembering or putting ourselves in their shoes for just a minute. Then the scar tissue softens a bit and we realize that we're all on this boat called Earth together, all on a journey, and that there, but for the grace of ...
... goes I.
It really gives me pause sometimes, and puts my troubles into perspective.