I found this today. And I’m finding it very hard to focus.
I was a senior in high school when this happened. I remember being so moved by this natural disaster, I felt so compelled to do something to help; to contribute in some small way. I remember looking around me, looking at my peers, seeing the privileges our lives had afforded us, and I remember thinking that surely this event would be a welcome opportunity to show our gratitude by helping others in serious need. I gave an impromptu speech in my Creative Writing class, the group of students I assumed would me most susceptible to such a cause. I was standing on top of my desk, trying to incite a discussion, trying to indicate the urgency of the matter and the emotion I felt in any manner possible. My teacher encouraged me and promised to help me set up some kind of fund. But ultimately I was unsuccessful. The total funds collected as a result of my efforts reached a sum too shameful to mention. It was the beginning of second semester, and as a graduating class, students weren’t concerned with academics, let alone charity; their extra cash would be spent on exotic spring break vacations and freshman dorm furnishings. I remember feeling powerless, and maybe I was; maybe I’d waited too long to learn how to effectively create change in one of the most maleable social environments. It really was a shame too because had it mattered to me sooner, I probably could have made quite a success of my extracurricular pre-collegiate career– but in that moment, it seemed it was too late. There’s no social force more devastating than apathy.
Anyway, I found this documentary today and it really doesn’t require an explanation, suffice it to say that it gives new meaning to the term NSFW (not safe for work)– at least for me, as I was probably caught several times with my jaw dropped and workplace inappropriate tears welling in my eyes. Ultimately my lack of focus is due to the regained perspective provided by the knowledge of events such as these– that moment when you realize you’re a human and someday you and everyone you know will die. But it’s not even that–to know that in your life you may find yourself a moment in which every truth of your immediate reality is shattered and you are forced to accept the terror of being alive. But again, it’s not even that. The people featured are so beautifully graceful. Approaching anything is life with grace is difficult, but to face death and loss gracefully is unearthly; it could be the closest a human can get to knowing the thing of God; in many ways, we can be God– to reconcile the knowledge and acceptance of the absolute uncertainty of life.