It was mayhem in the Midwest yesterday.
Tornadoes swept many cities, with the nearest one only an hour away. Unlike the recent typhoon in the Philippines, the casualties were low, thankfully! But many homes were destroyed, with winter fast approaching.
Last night, when Fern and I took Rusty out for his night walk, the night was unnaturally quiet. The sky looked too clear and serene to be true – it belied the havoc a few hours earlier. As we stood in the peace of the night, it was hard to believe that hours away some families lost everything and will spend the cold night (and the next few winter months) in makeshift shelters. Hard to believe, but it’s true.
There’s no reason why the tornadoes could not have headed our way. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom why terrible things happen to large swathes of good people. Amid such madness, the discomforting truth is that sometimes the fine line that separates those affected and those spared is simply a matter of luck. When disaster comes within touching distance, we can’t help but feel blessed and thankful to be spared.
In a world that has grown so unequal and apart, a natural disaster reminds us that there are many things we still share in common. When nature strikes, it does not matter whether we live in a hut or a $10mil mansion. Our fates are joined, and we are the same community. It fades the sense of self, and you just want to do something nice to help someone else.
Many of us live blessed lives. Particularly so in Singapore, where we have never experienced natural disaster. The closest we experience is tremors when there is an earthquake in Sumatra, and sometimes we get calf-deep flash floods when the rains pour hard. But nothing devastating or earth shattering. Yet we are always complaining and unhappy. There are so many things to be thankful about. We really should count our blessings in life…