At the end of last year, I remember thinking to myself: "There hasn't been a catastrophe for quite a while, we must be due something big." Little did I know!
If you live in my corner of the globe it certainly feels like we've had more than our fair share of that 'something big'. "It feels like the end of the world," you hear people muttering as yet another disaster is played out on our TV screens 24/7. Massive floods, powerful cyclones, enormous seismic aftershocks, huge earthquake and tsunami. Not to mention the uprisings in the Middle East.
On Friday night, as the kids were tucked up safely in bed and Skip was out having fun with his mates, I sat on the lounge and was bombarded with terrible images of Japan. As the enormity of the earthquake and tsunami sank in and reports that Australia was on 'tsunami watch', I sighed and did the only thing that felt right in that moment – I changed the channel.
What a privilege that was. I did not have to worry about the safety of my home, my community or my family. I had a fridge full of food. I had taps with running water. I had a roof over my head. I had electricity to light my home and power my fan on that humid night. I had a choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. I then could watch some mindless trash and push the devastation that others were facing out my mind.
It was hard though. One thought kept creeping into my mind as I watched Tori & Dean: "Those people woke up this morning, got dressed, ate breakfast, probably yelled at their kids, maybe cursed their spouse, wondered how they were going to pay a certain bill, what they were going to do on the weekend." Then in a few moments their world was turned upside down, wiped out. How do you recover from that? How do you start again? How do you regain that preciousness of the mundane? The sad fact is for the entire communities that were washed away, you don't.
Disaster after catastrophe after calamity, for me it's almost starting to feel a little surreal. Like the news channels have become some kind of disaster reality show. You know, should we watch Law & Order, Miami Ink or the latest catastrophe coverage – cause if you watch Foxtel this is what's always on.
I hope I don't become numb or disconnected. I hope I don't become overly fearful. I pray that I'm lucky enough to be always be able to change the channel.