Let’s look at news from the past week or so.
Major flooding in Pakistan has decimated that country, killing hundreds and affecting a million more, and not just because they’ve lost their belongings.
Mudslides in China have left 127 dead and thousands more are missing.
British Columbia’s recent land slide left few dead but will cost the province and country millions in repairs with more risk of damage expected come the fall rains.
21 people died in Germany and 500 more were injured after a stampede over a music festival of all things. A bishop called it “God’s punishment for losing faith” — surprise surprise.
Moscow is under a heavy fog due to uncontrollable fires in Russia. I heard a clip on the news somewhere this past weekend about the health effects of breathing that shit in – something like smoking two packs of cigarettes in an hour. Burning peat bogs around the city seem to be the biggest problem. 42 are dead and 2000 people are without homes now.
How about that reality show where the guy died after being too long in a sauna? Clearly the end of realty television should be close now, yes? Whose fucked up idea of a program was that?
Locally, somebody was murdered in Saskatoon recently, and in Regina a couple and their young son were found dead in a townhouse – only because neighbours finally reported on the funky ass smell emanating from the building. It’s that city’s first ever triple homicide, not something to brag about.
Now the quote. It’s out of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a book I’ve never read but judging by the brief synopsis, I think I’d be interested in it.
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habits, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is no smooth road into the future:but we go round, or scramble over obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
Here’s the thing about tragedy: if it’s happening to a lot of people far, far away, it still never feels as bad as what we personally have to face. It won’t matter how many pictures, how many news articles, how many somber faces report death tolls on the news channels – if it’s not us going through it, it may never feel real enough to bother caring about. Which is a shame.
Here’s the thing about dealing with tragedy: D. H. Lawrence was right. Create new habits; find new hopes. To cope, we have to adapt. To adapt, we have to find a way to live beyond what happened and not be crippled by the memories of it. It is not an easy road, which is probably why so many people don’t even try. We’ll dwell on things. We’ll get caught in the cycle of what ifs and if onlys and the should’ves and all the rest of those mind traps. We’ll seek to lay blame at someone’s feet and will often wind up dropping it on our own if we can’t find a convenient scapegoat.
But no matter how many skies seem to have fallen, life still has to go on. Maybe it won’t be very fun for a while, but it won’t get better if we don’t at least try to make it better. What we take from this, what we learn from this experience, we can use in the future. We may even be impressed with how much stronger we become in the process.