Monday, March 14, 2011

Is This It?

There has been so much devastation happening in the world in the last decade. Bombings and floods and earthquakes and tsunamis. When Bethany was not even a month old, I remember getting a call from Chris on the morning of September 11, 2001 telling me to turn the TV on. I turned it on in time to see an airplane fly into the World Trade Center. It was surreal. We felt like the world had been knocked off kilter. Things like that don't happen here. Things like that happen on CNN.

When Connor was one and a half, I found myself glued to the television for hours on end watching coverage of the tsunami that hit Indonesia on December 26, 2004. I was horrified by the survivor stories, saddened and depressed by the accounts of loved ones swept out to sea, and utterly transfixed by the round the clock news updates as the death toll climbed...and climbed...and climbed.

Months before I became pregnant with Lucy, hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Shore on August 23, 2005. Our television was on at all hours, updating us on the latest catastrophic consequences of this domestic natural disaster. Bethany and Connor watched so much of the news coverage that when we found out Lucy was going to be a girl (in April or May of 2006), Bethany suggested we name her Katrina.

Many other disasters Chile, Haiti, New Zealand, Australia. Flooding and earthquakes of epic proportions. I tuned myself out because I get too affected and too depressed, so I stopped obsessively following the news for these events. Not to mention the wars, and the terrorism, and every other terrible kind of newsworthy happening. Which pretty much means I don't watch or read much news these days.

And now it's Japan. I've tried not to become obsessed, but it's hard not to. The impact is impossible to imagine. Watching the videos, looking at the pictures, reading the so heartbreaking. Is this the end of Japan? Will it be the next Atlantis? (Which, coincidentally, archaeologists think they have found - and they think it was likely wiped away by a tsunami. Read about it here). People stranded on and houses and fences and junk all piled in huge random heaps...entire towns and water shortages...and add to all that nuclear meltdowns. I'm afraid to ask how much worse it can possibly get.

So, is the end immanent? Are we truly seeing the end of days, the beginning of the apocalypse, divine warnings? Or is this the natural course of things that can be expected every few thousand years? Or just arbitrary, meaningless crap that is happening for no reason whatsoever?

Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, for now life goes on. There is still joy to be found every day. There are still things to learn and kids to take care of and messes to clean (that laundry, I can personally attest, is not doing itself), and weddings to plan and celebrations to be had and relationships to foster. So, like Robin Williams proclaims in Dead Poets Society (and please don't tell me you haven't seen have to see it...that's like saying you haven't seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off): Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Today's the day your life belongs to you, fully and completely, right this very minute. Enjoy.

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