Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Disaster Overload And Christmas Shopping

It's enough to make anyone a bit wacky. Devastating hurricanes have been slamming into Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Thoughts still going back to the horrendous tsunami that hit the Indonesian areas. Earthquakes and flooding have been making appearances all over the world including the USA. Volcanologists are watching various mountains for activity. Terror alerts whether hoax or real are being announced. Fears of an outbreak of Avian flu has been in the paper and on the TV news. Then there's hurricane Vince forming where it is not supposed to be able to form and traveling to Spain to give those folks a bit of wind and rain. Some days it just isn't the thing to do to watch the news or read the newspaper.

I don't know if this is a proper term, but I will call all of this disaster overload. I haven't been caught in the middle of any of these disasters (thank God), but I am still experiencing disaster overload. Each day when I wake up, I wonder if it is our turn, shake my head, have a cup of tea, and decide what my reaction will be to the latest disaster. Some days I write a check to donate to a charity dealing with one disaster or another. Some days I pray a bit more. Some days I have a second cup of tea and decide that life does go on and obsessing over all of this is unhealthy. This week, I have turned to my Christmas shopping list. Before you decide that I am a totally callous individual, let me try to explain why.

I think that at times it is necessary to balance the negative things that we face in our lives with positive things. There is very little I can do to ease the pain and suffering around the world that is always there to a greater or lesser degree. Christmas to me symbolizes hope for the world and a sense of peace and the world as it could be. I cannot take away the pain of so many human beings. Someday I may be in the middle of some of that pain myself. In the meantime, I will do what I can to make things better for the people in my life... people that are here now and will not always be here. I try to spread joy, provide comfort, share what I have, and be grateful that I can do these things. When I celebrate Christmas, I am thankful for and celebrate all that God has given me... my family, my home, my friends, my faith, my health, my talents.

When I find myself in a position to help with disasters I do what I can. When I find that I am so far removed from what has happened that all I can do is send a check to a charity I do that. I am aware of how lucky I am, but I don't think that it is healthy to obsess over things I cannot control. It is sad to see the images on TV, but that does not mean that I need to carry that sadness around with me all day. What I do need to do is focus on the good things that I can do and do them.

When I go Christmas shopping, I include those things that I will donate for the poor. This year our church will have an adopted family that are refugees from the hurricane disasters. It is a simple thing to include people in need in my shopping list. When you do this type of thing you bring joy to someone who is in need. Don't you also feel some of that joy yourself? Think about expanding your list this year. If you start shopping early, you will have plenty of time. You never know when you might be a person in need... due to life changes or a disaster.

Okay. I am off of my soapbox now.


Rainypete said...

Never let anyone tell you that your are a bad person for tuning out for a while. We live in an age where it is easy to catch CNN-itis. With the media outlets clamoring for more tragedy to sell we are buried in bad news. If you don't unplug once in a while you'll eb depressed and constantly worried about matters you have no control over. Enjoy your Christmas shopping and I hope the refugees get a nice Christmas too.

Do what you can and don't worry about what you can't.

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

"Disaster overload" is a superb term. Your post is wise, healthy, full of caring and living Life! Finding that balance is a vital individual decision.

happyandblue2 said...

My name is Happy and Blue 2 and I am poor. Please add me to your Christmas list.
And I don't need any more socks, thanks..

Alisa said...

I think that is the perfect term "disaster overload".

And I think you're right. Life does go on and will go on, regardless of mother nature and you can't feel bad for doing what you can in donations and then proceeding to live your life.

I need to get started on Christmas shopping.

PBS said...

Why not do Christmas shopping. Like you said, it's a good balance.

PBS said...

Why not do Christmas shopping. Like you said, it's a good balance.

Woody said...

Christmas shopping will be diminished this year due to high gasoline prices and long distances to travel. I'll do most of it over the net.

Have a good weekend~ Woody

Rhodent said...

WOODY! Glad to hear from you!

I do some net shopping myself.

Rhodent said...

Happy and Blue-- What DO you want Santa to bring you for Christmas this year?

frustratedwriter said...

Being the CPO of a nonprofit, disaster overload means something totally different... Enjoyed this post and totally relate. I wouldn't mind starting on my Christmas shopping if I just knew what the kids wanted. Sigh.

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