Whenever a major tragedy or disaster strikes, like the one we’re seeing unfold in Japan right now, news anchors, commentators, and us mere mortals struggle to make sense of it all, especially when the human suffering and loss of life is so great. It’s understandable that few of know what to say, or how to express our thoughts adequately.
But I heard a news anchor say something the other day that we often hear expressed when a tragic or dramatic event happens – whether that event is national or global in scope, or just besets one individual. Something along the lines of, “This puts life into perspective. At a tragic time like this I’m sure (the affected party) is not worrying about their 401k balance, or the dent their spouse put in the family car yesterday.”
Well, yeah, I’m sure that’s true, but such dramatic statements imply that we shouldn’t worry about such things, that we should always be 100% focused on the “important.” The reality of course that that there are hundreds of things in life that need to be focused on – at least at one time or another – for us to function as individuals, families, employees, etc.
The statements from the news anchor were well-meaning, I’m sure. Maybe they just point out the inadequacy of the spoken language when events occur that almost defy human explanations. At such times, at least when I take the time to stop first and reflect, I find prayer usually fits the situation much better than words.