We can learn a lot about ourselves in the face of tragedy. And forgive me for using this as a platform to disseminate my own personal feelings. Last Wednesday tornadoes ripped through my community. And we were not alone. Dozens and dozens of communities, towns, cities and counties got hit hard. A few hundred dead, a few thousand injured. Whole homes and lives literally swept away by the wind. A couple of tornadoes came within a couple miles on either side of me and my family. My home was spared, and for that I am incredibly thankful. Going without electricity through 5 nights was a very minor inconvenience compared to the loss many others have suffered.
So what I’m about to share now is utterly trivial. But yesterday evening I just had to listen to music. Since the storms hit, the radio had been dedicated to solely informational purposes. And I didn’t want to waste my iPhone’s battery on anything other than it’s communications abilities. But last night I went out to my deck, plugged my headphones in, and went searching for something that would both soothe me and satiate my musical hunger. I turned straight to my good friend Paul Heaton. Specifically to The Housemartins. Nostalgic, upbeat, but still socially conscious. Songs like “Flag Day”, “Build”, and “Caravan Of Love” took on new-found meanings. It was the exact medicine I needed.
But that’s enough for my own self-centered thoughts. Others still need much stronger medicine than I needed. From Haiti to Japan to Alabama, and so many countless places in between, there are people that have real needs. When it’s so massive and right in your own backyard you simply can’t turn your face from it. But to be honest, when tragedy hits other places I watch more as a curious voyeur than really feeling for them. So, this has been a reminder to me that all these people everywhere are real human lives, “with loves, and hates, and passions just like mine” (to borrow a line from The Smiths).
So maybe tragedy makes us all a bit more human. It’s a shame that we need bad things to happen to us to remind us of that though.