We’re All in This Together
No One Will Get Out Alive
The recent catastrophic floods in Kentucky resulted in loss of life and damage to property in an unprecedented natural disaster that has left the state reeling.
Nothing is more disturbing, even horrifying, than the four siblings who were swept away by the flood.
I’ve seen the story posted on social media and read the responses. Anybody with a heart and a drop of empathy in their bodies were deeply affected by this random incident. It’s an unexpected tragedy. We don’t wake up one morning expecting to have our entire family swept away by strong currents of water.
The parents are officially traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Although most likely they’ve already suffered traumatic events, all of us do, this incident exceeds the definition of cruel. The comments to the online news story have consisted almost entirely of phrases like — praying for the family or praying.
I understand that there are no words.
In cases like this, words are terribly inadequate. What does one say? There’s no way to explain what has taken place. It doesn’t get any worse than this, and that’s really saying something. The endless ways humans are subjected to terror, suffering, and pain stretch on and on and on into the distant future like a bad omen. We know our days are numbered. That’s always in the back of our minds.
The best we can hope for is that the way we exit life won’t be too gruesome.
Talk about utter helplessness. The only way we can exercise any control is to take our own lives which society tends to fervently disapprove of for the most part.
I’m not religious. The prayer thing doesn’t work for me.
I look at this bizarre world I’ve inherited through the sheer lottery of birth, and it seems like an imperfect plan. If indeed a god presides over it all and was the creator of this mess, then he’s either a psychopath or has limited capabilities.
Who would experiment with human life the way gods have supposedly done for centuries and centuries?
Only psychopaths. We know humans have conducted horrible experiments upon one another, but I think we’re hoping that if there’s a god, he’d be morally superior to human beings. If I were to require an incident like what just took place in Kentucky to be part of my big, mysterious plan, I’d be called a serial killer.
Since I’ve never met one of these gods, never even received so much as a phone call, it’s only logical to conclude that all the gods have been a figment of very active imaginations.
I don’t fault people for crying out to a god for help.
It can be terrifying to be alive, but I refuse to believe in a god who supposedly has that much power but refuses to protect four little kids under the age of 9 from being swept away by torrents of water to a gruesome death.
I understand the psychology of prayer and the belief in powerful beings that are watching over us even when we’re asleep.
We’re scared. We’re traumatized. We’re struggling every day to make sense of life. We know that if this can happen to a couple in Kentucky, it could happen to us. No one is safe, ever. Prayer is often a coping skill, but I can’t bring myself to use it. I’ve experienced some very traumatic events in my life, too, but didn’t resort to prayer or asking people to pray for me.
So what can we do when we stop praying?
I don’t have a lot of answers. Life seems to be more about questions than answers, but I do know that allowing ourselves to grieve is important. Giving ourselves permission to talk about our grief is equally important. As listeners, we can be quiet and just listen, allowing our traumatized friend to process their grief out loud. We don’t need to provide them with answers, only love and understanding. We can cry with them. We can acknowledge our own fears and sense of relief that we were spared. We can remain nonjudgmental.
Most of us could use some training in how to help someone who has been recently traumatized.
I’m always surprised that we’ve had so little preparation in advance for what’s coming. We’re often blindsided by traumatic events as though we had no idea that these kinds of things happen all the time.
It’s at times like this that I become hyper aware that humans need a lot more love and compassion than most of us are prepared to give.
We’re all in this together. We’re all hoping to postpone our own deaths for as long as possible. We often feel alone even when surrounded by fellow humans. Most of us are carrying the scars of at least one traumatic event. It’s this common thread that should bring us closer. But we must stop being afraid to confront grief. We must not pass the buck to a fictitious being. Because he will never lift a finger to help. If there’s a need for help, only we can provide it for one another. If we refuse to help, then there’s no one else to step in and pick up the pieces.
This is the human plight. It should bring us closer to one another because we all share grief.
Life is one problem after another requiring our attention to survive. The more we can be of help to one another, the less we’ll need to ask a fictitious god to step in and fix things for us. We’re on a planet that is filled with risks.
All we have is one another.
Teresa is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.