One of the many benefits of modern technology is the closeness it has made in the world. Before the advent of the internet and television, disasters that struck in remote corners of the world went largely unheeded at home. While sitting comfortably in our living rooms, we did not think about the plight of people elsewhere. Ignorance was bliss.
Today, however, we are much more aware of others in distant lands. The internet and television bring foreign cultures and strangers into our homes so vividly that we can feel their pain. They become real people. We can empathize with their predicaments and feel sorry for their losses. Our common humanity is exposed as we listen and watch of the suffering of complete strangers and have sympathy for them.
We are now unavoidably conscious of events around the world. When disasters strike, we are transfixed by the events. Deep down, we know that tragedy can strike at home as easily as it can abroad. Their plight may someday be ours.
This phenomenon was clearly demonstrated with the unfortunate disaster in Nepal this Saturday. We watched the reports coming in on the news about the earthquake there. In case you have not heard, a 7.8 earthquake struck outside of the capital, Kathmandu. So far, the death toll is over 1,400 and climbing, including 10 buried under an avalanche triggered by the quake on Mount Everest. The victims are not just Napalese, they are from all over the world too.
Our youngest son, Elijah, has been deeply moved by the events. For some inexplicable reason, he has always been drawn to Nepal. He is fascinated by the country. He wears a hand-made bracelet from Nepal that he bought with his own money as a charity donation for poor villagers in the country. He even adopted a tiger in the jungle region of Nepal through a World Wildlife Fund program.
Not surprisingly, he really wants to do something to help the victims from the earthquake. His first though was to immediately fly to Nepal and help rebuild homes and schools. We had to tell him that at age 13 he was not going to take off alone to a disaster area, despite his eagerness. Undeterred, he is brainstorming other possibilities.
His sincere passion of wanting to do something for people on the other side of the planet is touching. His heart is as big as his ambitions. He does not see strangers, he sees people like him in much need of help. Imagine if everyone thought like that?
We will keep Nepal in our prayers.
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