While life continues “as normal” for many of us in various locations in our world, there are others, MANY others, who are currently suffering from the DEVASTATION of recent natural and human disasters.
These events have a powerful impact upon the bodies, minds, and souls of those who experience them, and I think it important that we remain mindful of them and their suffering now, and for many months (and even years) to come. May our loving prayers, intentions, and actions go out to them as they move forward in recovery.
While these may seem like “worst of times,” there is something else that we observe during these times of crisis that can be quite encouraging. Often, crises and disasters can bring out the very best in humanity.
We witness this through the acts of bravery and kindness that people exemplify in these situations:
- A rescue worker puts it all on the line to save someone in peril.
- A man allows a woman who needs electricity more than he does to take the last generator at a store.
- People unite in offering refuge and supplies to those in need.
We also witness the emergence of the strength and determination that exists within the human person during experiences such as these. People “dig deep” and actualize their faith and fortitude as they push through the challenges they face. They also display wisdom in the way they assess what truly matters in life, and how materials can be replaced and rebuilt, but persons and characters often cannot.
I wish to thank these “Victims who become Victors” for the fine example they have set for all of us, and for reminding us of the goodness that remains in humanity. One day, we can hope that the balance will shift, and that all of these very positive capabilities within humankind will overcome the negative as we unite in creating solutions to the perils to which we contribute, and often directly cause (i.e., pollution, wars).
One of my absolute favorite spiritual teachers, Saint Ignatius Loyola, used the terms “consolation” and “desolation” to describe the “ebb and flow” of life events, and the accompanying feelings we can experience within them. Life is full of times of consolation as well as desolation, and each ultimately informs the other. I can truly appreciate the warmth of the sun after it has been hidden for a time behind the dark clouds.
After each consolation, a desolation, and then another consolation, and so on. After years of experiencing these transitions, we learn to become less reactive to the changes, and we accept that “Grace and Love are sufficient” (see the Ignatian Suscipe Prayer). The really good news here is that one day this duality will yield to a unity, and we will know true and lasting consolation.
Until then, we persevere through the challenges being sure to find the deepest and most sincere BEST within us, knowing that we are not alone, and that others can also be their best selves when given the trust and opportunity.
Ultimately, we can never truly know any kind of permanent DEVASTATION, and we can continue to RENEW ourselves with each challenge and/or adversity we face, determined and insistent that each new transition will yield something better than before.