This has been an emotionally charged and confusing time in my life, triggering memories of other past situations that I can do little about.
The trigger this past week has been Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it wreaked upon an unsuspecting public. Deaths, destruction, desolation. Every day it’s another heartbreaking story.
But like so many others, I am settled safely in the Midwest, far from the water and the grief. And that makes me feel like a slacker. I have sent money to help the victims, but I am employed full-time and have family and financial responsibilities, so I can’t go and help those in need. And even if I did go down to Houston, I am in no shape physically to help out.
This feeling of helplessness is the same feeling I got when Katrina hit. Or the Twin Towers. Massive devastation thousands of miles away from me. It’s almost surrealistic, because in all cases I have not known one person who was affected by these tragedies. I feel like I’m a cheater — reading the stories of the victims and the survivors, then turning around and making a grilled cheese sandwich like it’s nothing special. It is a shameful feeling.
Do you ever feel like you’re reading a fiction novel instead of really grasping the truth?
Yet around me are situations that can (and have) taken turns for the worse. Not only my cancer (which has not returned, thank goodness), but cancer in friends, triple bypass surgery, arthritis throughout one’s body, mothers and fathers and wives and husbands passing away, ill health and bankruptcy and all kinds of situations that hurt the heart as well as the body. Are these any more important than what is going on in Houston?
Are we any less of a feeling, emoting human being if we keep on working on our side of the window?
On the other end of the scale is the decadence of the wealthy. A world I cannot even imagine. Beyonce once spent $100,000 on a Balanciaga bra and leggings and $4 million for a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sports Car. The Beckams spent $240,000 on a nursery for their son, while Elton John bought the apartment next door for $2 million so his son could have a place to play in.
People are starving. People are dying. People’s homes have been washed away. Their children will have nightmares the rest of their lives. Yet there is a section of society that can buy a teacup sized Pomeranian for $10,000 (Paris Hilton) or a $250,000 bottle of champagne (JayZ) or a $2 million dollar bath tub (Mike Tyson).
What is wrong with the world?
I know I know — kings and queens and popes and oil monguls have been spending buko bucks for centuries while the poor ate potatoes and worse. There has never been a balance in the world’s economy. It’s just the nature of human beings.
I don’t know why I feel like I’m ignoring the woes of the world.
We are all caught in the middle, lost somewhere between tragedy and comedy. The only thing we can do is acknowledge where we are, what we have done, and be prepared to handle the best of times and the worst of times.
13 thoughts on “But for the Grace of God (Go I)”
I’m afraid it will be more than one post, I took about 1500 pictures…..:D
I hope to read a post about it! ❤️
yes we can ! (sorry I’m late with my reply, just returned from a vacation without wifi)
The pressure on new politicians is intense. Especially when fueled by crooked “other” politicians. Your good kind heart would be crushed by today’s political arena. Better to work the magic within our own circle. Can’t change the world but we can change our reaction to it.
What wonderful poetry your pain creates! As long as love leads the way we’ll be okay.
You are spot on !! I feel exactly the way you do ! This hurts me every day, people not caring for eachother and the rich paying ridiculous prices for clothes, parties, cars, fun……so much injustice all over the world and feeling helpless to do something about it. My husband tells me often “you should go into politics so you can change things” then I reply ” oh no ! not in a million years ! when you go into politics you are a bad person as most of them only want to enrich themselves and only a few of them go into politics to try change the world for the better, well they are laughed at and pestered away by the others.
Sometimes I feel exactly like you Claudia, personally helpless, and at the same time, frustrated with our world and humanity. But as you say we are stuck in this middle-world, with our caring thoughts and hidden emotions. However I seem to absorb all the heartaches of the sufferings of others, and I’ve tears of pain, like our everyday rains, the cycle of life remains, despite all the stains, and in the morning I’ll see you again…….
You are right. I have read about celebrities helping out in this disaster. But for every heartfelt donation are a dozen others buying golden toilets and useless ultra expensive cars. The gap between the stars and the gravel is way too grand for my taste.
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I love your answer, Carrie. It’s true that the older we get the more precious our moments are here on Earth. I think you’re right when you say maybe we were more optimistic when we were younger. We figure as we get older we can get a better jump on the problems of the world. But Mother Nature is not forgiving. Or understandable. I guess taking care of each other is the best we can do sometimes.
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Excellent post. At least it’s nice to see so many entertainers sending some of their millions to the Red Cross.
It’s interesting how the older we get, the more the world and problems of others weigh heavy on our shoulders. Were we just too egocentric as young adults to notice it as much? Was it a self-protection measure back then? Were we simply ignorant? Or maybe our brains change as a result of our daily experiences as we get older and we see things in a new light. Regardless of the reason, I hear you. Some days it’s difficult to get past all the bad news out there. I guess that’s where gratitude comes in. It makes us appreciate how good we have things and helps keep us from wallowing in self-pity.