I have several moments frozen in my mind. One is watching the Challenger explode. Another is my mother yelling “John Lennon is dead!”. I watched the Twin Towers fall on Live TV with a co-worker and kept thinking “Oh my God….those buildings are full of people.”
Technology today allows us to witness our times’ greatest tragedies Live and in High Definition. I still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but I do know that bearing witness to these catastrophic events leaves me feeling like I have a responsibility, even obligation, to take the lessons taught by these events and grow from them personally. I can never, ever forget how lucky I am.
It’s so easy to take our comfort, safety, and even our lives for granted. As we watched the tsunami roll over Sendai we knew we were witnessing the unspeakable; there were people in those buildings and vehicles that were dying in the devastation. To helplessly watch as these people died, knowing there wasn’t a thing anyone could do, caused a cold, inner stillness as the realization of our own fragile mortality was driven like a steel stake into our hearts. To know that the forces of nature can strip from us our families, our friends, our safety, our homes, our livelihoods. To really KNOW that it can happen between beats of a hummingbird’s wings. That fast. That final.
As I continue to watch the unfolding disaster in Japan my heart breaks for the millions of people affected, both there and around the world via family and friends. And yet, as I watch, I am thankful for the lesson. Now go hug someone you love.
8 1/4″ x 11 3/4″
Soft Pastel, Watercolor, Archival Ink, Gouache