“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
My senses are bombarded. How many times must I witness the horror in Haiti to know that there are tens of thousands of people feared dead due to the catastrophic earthquake, buried beneath demolished schools, hospitals and homes, and tens of thousands more that are now homeless and hungry in the chaos, desperate for assistance? How many times is enough to make me feel guilty if I smile today? How many times is enough to make me feel helpless if I can’t throw more money at the problem to fix it?
I have turned off, tuned out and hung up.
It’s not because I don’t care. It’s because watching their pain repeatedly doesn’t make it better. I have donated. Realistically, there is nothing more I can do but pray.
Everyone has an emergency exit – a place far from the external and internal noises that distract us; a place so quiet you can hear HIS whisper. My method to escape madness depends where I am and ranges from creating to reading to beachcombing to hiking in the woods. I’m adaptable. Regardless of how I get there, I know the way.
Currently, it consists of walking along the private dirt road that circles the property behind the Fairfield House to the river. The walk is a mile and the boys join me. I’m not sure how many more times Buster will be able to make this walk. It’s not a race so if the old man needs to stop and rest, I am happy to oblige. He especially likes it on days like today when the air is brisk and the sun is shining. No saber toothed killer green head flies in sight.
Scout, a Rat Terrier that I found on CraigsList, is two years old and the fastest dog I’ve ever seen. He can easily do ten laps to my one. I am sure I see sparks flying from his feet, perhaps Mercury would have been a better suited name.
With each step I leave another worry behind. With less worries blocking my view, I start to notice the beauty that surrounds me. I have gotten into the habit of bringing binoculars because I never know what I will discover – snow geese, hawks, falcons, owls, fox, coyotes – to name a few.
By the time I reach the river I have my answers.
Life will always have pain and suffering, but when we are forced to be a daily spectator, the pain spreads. We feel helpless, become depressed and disillusioned. We fixate on it – not wanting to see the horror but unable to turn away. While in this trance, we lose sight of what’s around us.
There is something we can do. Everyday people suffer silently. They survive their own personal earthquakes. Their world is shaken, turned upside down and sometimes destroyed. There is no mass media attention. We cannot help every nameless face we see on the news but we can touch the lives of those within reach and make a difference. We can save the world one person at a time.