Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saving grace

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, at least since the beginning of the year, perhaps a bit longer. Certainly I have a tendency to loathe January – the beginning of the year, while traditionally beckoning a fresh start, seems to leave me melancholy and clamoring for the past. But that isn’t really the source of my depression. I seem to have a bit of problem with the news, mostly the fact that the world happenings of late seem to be rather atrocious. As a society we are constantly bombarded with a 24-hour news cycle of nothing but death, destruction, and pain – and recent events seem to be rolling into an avalanche that will certainly lead to the end of the world. Well, in my hyperbolic, depressed state, anyway. From the attack on Gaza to the Greek riots to the Russia/Ukraine gas dispute and people all over the world starving, unemployed, and losing their homes, it gets to the point where my heart is breaking so much that I start to feel numb.

Then on Thursday I hear that a plane has crashed. Another 100 or more people possibly dead. Another tragedy. It is a straw about to break this camel’s back. My mind is a swirl of anger – isn’t it enough that the world is going through what it is, without this? Did we really need a catastrophic plane crash right now??? I reluctantly switch to CNN, dreading more bad news, but hoping for something, anything that can save me, save us, from everything being bad all the time.

And there was something.

All 155 people on the plane survived. A plane ditched in the river in one of the most perfect plane crashes of all time. A pilot and co-pilot who know what they are doing, passengers who act without panicking, police and ferries and first responders all there ready, saving people, getting them out of the freezing water. At first you have to think of miracles, of a divine hand working some magic, and then you realize if there is a divine hand involved, it is simply showing us that this, THIS is what human beings are capable of. Not all tragedy. Not all pain. Not all bad.

Sure, this doesn’t solve the conflict in the Middle East. It doesn’t help Darfur. It doesn’t feed or clothe people, or provide running water. But it is 155 people who, for a few agonizing minutes on Thursday afternoon may not have thought they would still be alive today. What might have been a disaster became something good. If that doesn’t give us hope, nothing can.

6 comments:

Laurie Constantino said...

Yes, in an odd way, the plane crash was welcome good news. I've had cspan on all day, watching obama's series of whistle-stop train rallies. In each place crowds of ecstatic people are welcoming him and Joe Biden. It's hard not to feel joyful in the face of such abundant happiness. The reality of governing will come soon, but for the next few days I'm planning on wallowing in joy. Wish I could wave a magic wand and add cspan to your tv menu.

Rositta said...

I, like you thought they were all dead and was really happy to hear it was not so. Kudos to the pilot who didn't panic. And the passengers, well they didn't waste time looking for their carry on bags, they just got the heck out...ciao
As an aside, I wonder how much of the world is really paying attention to Russia these days, scary stuff.

Gianna said...

This was a great post!
I, like you, have been feeling in a funk lately and the onset of a new year does not leave me feeling joyous and positive for a fresh start. There are plenty of awful things happening in the world these days. I choose not to watch the news. Some days when you think it can't get any worse, it does. That dark cloud that was circling my head last year, has followed me into January. I am so grateful to have special people (friends, family) in my life that I can turn to in times of need. One word that keeps me going is "hope!"

toomanytribbles said...

you have to stop watching network news. these programs are carefully crafted to cultivate fear and a sense of futility.

my tv us usually off, but even when it's on, it hastily gets turn off if a news program comes on.

Laurie Constantino said...

Completely off topic, but I thought this might strike your funny bone: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7838850.stm

melusina said...

Laurie, I wish you could wave a magic wand and give me cspan too. I used to love it. Our new president also gives me hope, I just hope our Congress will work with him. The realities of government just seem so annoying, I can't imagine things ever get done. That news story you posted is interesting - those creatures are crazy looking! Pheromones leading females into traps - where have I come across that before?? Ha!

Rositta - I'm with you on the Russia thing. I think the whole gas thing was a way of them exerting their power and I really think we don't pay enough attention to Russia and China. The ongoing mess in the Middle East gives these two countries nice cover.

Gianna, it is nice to know I'm not alone in my funk, but yes, hope is what keeps me going.

toomanytribbles, I shouldn't watch or read the news. I'm a junkie though, and I keep thinking that since I'm an adult now (more or less) I should stay informed about world events. But I do need to learn more when to turn it off before it starts getting to me.