Seniors: Framing Our Response to Disasters

Mar 14th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Like a toy box turned upside down with all its contents spilled across the floor and into the bathtub, this latest disaster, an 8.9 earthquake in Japan, has hit at the heart of that great country.  Surely, even with all the preparations for that fault line infested country, there were those who thought or felt that it couldn’t happen there.  But happen there, and in Haiti and New Zealand and previously elsewhere, it did.  It is enough to arouse fear even in the most courageous and doubting. 

Lying awake at night now, those most directly affected, one may wonder what will be next.  Our world seems to be on a topsy turvy collision course with disasters of natural and human made provocation.  Storms come, buildings fall, explosions rip apart and elders and children flee.  It is a scene straight out of a movie made to terrorize the mind and shake one’s very soul.

How shall we go about framing our own response to the repetitiveness of these colossal disasters as they pop out like small pox or measles in an elementary school? 

What can we do as we anticipate another such tremulous and terrible occurrence maybe even closer to our own homes and streets?  We will, as we always do, respond to pleas for help.  We will, those who can, offer to volunteer.  We will, those who care, send money and other goods that may be useful (please, no clothes).  We will help our own consciences to be more sensitive and caring about how we can show compassion and demonstrate presence. 

But, we must do more.  We must make way for those fleeing their own countries because of the daily disasters they face.  Natural, political, social, economic  upheavals of human beings seeking a place and a life that seems safer, more of a haven.  There may not be such a place, but when faced with making one’s way through a debris strewn street, it surely feels as if there are better places to be. 

As we frame our sympathy, and empathy, for those affected so radically by such an overwhelming few minutes of an earthquake that took away everything, let us consider those who are already living with little to nothing all over the world. 

Let us prepare ourselves by sharpening our sensitivities to others, wherever they are, so that  when the dramatic happens, we will have honed our skills to care by having been about the job of caring everyday.



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