Ok so real talk here.
I've had a rough week at work. No my computer didn't crash. My boss didn't yell at me. It wasn't high stress. However, within my job at times I report on natural disasters. I'll be very honest- 9 times out of 10 I don't think about it. You see the incredible video and images that pour in from various incidents around the world. But there is a disconnect. Almost as if it's happening on some imaginary planet and not real life.
I doubt I'm alone on this. We are bombarded with information all day every day. It is so easy to become desensitized.
The month of September has been particularly intense in this hemisphere. Harvey, Irma, Maria, Jose and earthquakes. Last night I could not stop watching videos coming out of Mexico City and the surrounding areas. I was captivated and horrified. It's so easy to become numb to the amount of information and visuals we process everyday. This one broke through.
My Mom often refers to me as a robot or emotionless. That sounds harsh. She is an empath though. So she doesn't always understand when I process things differently. So those that are close to me don't always see that human side that gets emotional over things.
And with situations where you are reporting on a disaster it's not your job to bring emotion into the equation. It's your job to share the facts and information.
The earthquake images hit home though. In 2008 I interned abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand at a television station called Canterbury Television. Fast forward to February 22nd 2011. I no longer lived there, but of course my colleagues did and many worked in the same building I interned at. The building collapsed in the quake...during the workday. 16 CTV staff didn't make it out. Many of them were people that had welcomed me in such an uncertain time in my life. After all it was my first time living away from home and I chose the other side of the world. I remember living in Niagara and being at work when the news of that quake came in. I bawled in my office at the time. I knew all those buildings and the city centre that suffered severe damage. It was wild seeing it all unfold on TV. It wasn't happening on that imaginary planet and where it isn't real life. It was very real.
I don't profess to take any ownership over the heartache that the people of Christchurch felt and continue to have to deal with as time goes on. I must admit though it did rattle me. I hold a special place in my heart for Christchurch.
So fast forward again to last night and at my desk today. Consuming the images and video to find what fits the story I was working on. I felt heavy.
You see it's a beautiful sunny Vancouver day. However, hundreds of kilometres away there are families that have been broken apart in an instant. Loved ones grasping on to any hope that their family members will be found amongst the destruction. Volunteers working tirelessly to deliver on that hope.
And I realize things like this happen all the time. There is so much turmoil in this beautiful world.
The world is fragile. So is our life. No matter how much we plan or dream...we only have so much control.
So in times like this when it all seems a lot many of us are left feeling helpless.
I certainly feel that way sometimes. Once I could feel that heaviness I realized there was something I could do.
Be grateful for the moment. The beauty that surrounds me. The love ones I care for and who care for me.
You see we all get caught up in life. It happens so easily and all of a sudden a day blurs into a week blurs into a month. We get so caught up that we forget that life is a fleeting gift. Time is moving forward whether you pay attention or not. Life can change in an unplanned instant.
So be present.
As buildings collapsed around Mexico City I guarantee you no one was worried about the vase they just bought. No one was upset that their curved flat screen was no longer. No one was angry about the fancy coffee table they searched tirelessly for that was ruined.
In fact for those that have seemingly "lost everything" but have their families still... They are probably some of the most grateful people in the world right now. Because in an instant they knew what mattered. Each other.
We have the opportunity to understand what matters now and show our gratitude. The joys of life don't come from the materials we acquire, the structures we live in and what we own.
It's about the experiences we have. It's about the memories we create. It's about the people we love.
So instead of going to bed tonight and feeling helpless I'm going to do what I can in the now. I'm going to feel gratitude for this life. I'm going to hug my loved ones extra tight. I'm going to appreciate being a part of this beautiful fragile world.