Bad news — like really bad news — seems to be happening at a more frequent rate lately.
Disasters always happen, but the last six months alone have had some mind-blowing, heartbreaking events: The horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn.; the Boston Marathon bombings; the explosion in West, Texas.
And, today, the monster tornado that destroyed lives and families in Oklahoma.
Every time one of these things happens lately, the pattern feels the same: We sit in front of the TV glued to the endless loop of the same pictures (why these huge networks can’t come up with more footage is beyond me) and think to ourselves, “Wow, this really puts things in perspective.”
Then a week goes by — maybe not even that much — and that perspective disappears.
Why does that happen? Our lives should be enriched by perspective gained through realizing, “Holy crap, there are people who have REAL problems — and they make mine look like nothing.” And maybe for a short time, we are affected and do respond.
But then it’s back to normal.
Before long, we’re getting irritated with family members, bad-mouthing people from work, losing our tempers because someone cuts us off in traffic or takes too long at the ATM.
What gives? Why is perspective so hard to maintain?
Even after 9/11, when the country was more united than I can ever remember in our lifetime, we soon went back to partisan bickering. If possible, we’re even more divided than before.
Perhaps it’s that to enjoy life, we don’t allow ourselves to dwell on these disasters. These things happen to “other” people, and while we pause to be sad for them and express our shock at what occurred, we eventually move on.
That seems awfully selfish, because the families who have suffered through tragedies can never truly move on. But we all do it. I wish we didn’t.
Can anyone explain why?