January 19, 2010 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"Earthquakes and Family Wellness"There are no words to describe the horror of the suffering in Haiti right now. All of us have hopefully responded in some small way by providing whatever financial support we can to a group or agency that is on the ground in Haiti providing food, water and medical supplies. I hope we will all remember to give again next month, and two months from now, because while Haiti may no longer be front page news then, the need for aid and support will be just as great as it is today.
Earthquakes are a reminder that bad things happen to good people. In addition to earthquakes, car accidents happen. Cancer happens. Divorce happens. Domestic violence happens. Job loss happens. Addictions happen. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of suffering in the world. For some people, suffering raises doubts about the existence or presence of God. For me, I see the Spirit of God every time I see someone generously giving of themselves to help those who are suffering. God is with those who are suffering and God is the Spirit that inspires so many millions of people to come together and offer suppport.
Since this is a weekly column about personal and family wellness, I want to reflect on one lesson we can learn from this earthquake as they relate to our everyday lives. The most obvious lesson is that the amount of damage and loss of life from an earthquake is in direct proportion to the quality of the infrastructure in place at the time of the earthquake. Most of the buildings of Haiti, being one of the poorest nations, were not strong enough to survive an earthquake of such high magnitude.
This principle applies equally when it comes to personal and family wellness. I mentioned above some of the "earthquakes" that happen to us and to people we love: cancer, accidents, abuse, job loss, addiction, loss of a loved one, etc. The amount of devastation that will be caused by such "earthquakes" will be in direct proportion to the infrastructure of our lives and our relationships at the time of the "earthquake." In this case, the infrastructure has to do with the spiritual and emotional foundations that our lives are built upon. Strong individuals and strong relationships are not only able to celebrate and enjoy the good times of life, but are able to withstand the suffering that comes when life is hard.
For me, at this time, these are the lessons I am learning from the earthquake in Haiti. First, and most important, I need to do my part in helping the people of Haiti rebuild and recover, and I need to keep doing it for some time to come. Second, I need to be mindful of people around me who are suffering right now because they have been hit by one of the "earthquakes" I mentioned above, and offer them my support as they seek to rebuild and recover. Finally, I need to be ever mindful of strengthening the infrastructure of my one spiritual and emotional life, and of all the important relationships in my life, because one never knows when the next earthquake will come.
Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Haiti, and all who are suffering devastating losses.
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