Desensitization/Re-sensitization

The tragedy that Haiti is experiencing right now reminds me of how desensitized we are, and by we, I suppose I mean I.  We wake up in our warm beds every morning, hoping that the sun shines and that it isn’t too cold or hot.  We hope that work isn’t too stressful, and that we have something yummy for lunch.  And hope that maybe we can sneak out a little early and have a fun few hours after work.  Mostly we forget everything which isn’t directly inside our little bubble.  We stress about things like having to go to the grocery store, or cleaning the house, having a disagreement with a loved one.  We read the news, try to get it from every angle so we get as much of an unbiased view as possible.  We try and eat healthy food and get lots of proper rest and exercise.  The fact is, we live a pretty sheltered life, and meanwhile, thousands of people are dying of hunger, strife, warfare, illness.  And millions more are suffering, living their lives purely in survival mode. They do not have the luxury of being able to worry about  where they get their food, if they can get away from work for a week’s vacation.  I have been trying to RE-sensitize myself, but pouring over the pictures of devastation in Haiti, reading the detailed articles about the rescue efforts – really trying to FEEL the suffering there. But I find it is so hard.  I nearly cried this morning on my way in to work because I saw an otter had been killed in the road, but I can’t shed a tear over the thousands of people dead, dying, suffering from this horrible natural disaster magnified by a country rife with unrest?  I don’t think the news can ever convey the reality of the suffering that goes on in the world.  The 10 o’clock news makes the suffering in the world tabloid-like, completely sensationalized.  It disgusts me. It almost seems like the news coverage does the opposite of what it SHOULD do. I think because we watch so much violence and destruction on TV, in movies and in the world, we can’t fathom the reality of actually suffering through a real crisis.  I want to say I wish I could be there – wish I could help the victims in Haiti.  But saying I wish I could is a cop-out. If I feel that way, I should do it, right?  And honestly, what help can I provide?  I know I can give money, the one thing I really don’t have.  What I have is a huge, compassionate heart and a desire to help those in need.  I wish I wasn’t so trapped in my little bubble of work and bills and meetings and appointments that I could just take action and be of some help here.  My heart goes out to all of those suffering from this tragedy.  I am glad to be able to look outside of my bubble for a moment and actually think beyond my world.  Oh I could go on and on about these modern times and how disconnected we all are, but I’ll save it.  I will be praying (to my own little higher power) for all those who are affected by this tragedy.  And as always in the moments of reflection, I think of my mom, as I was in my early college years, I said – I want to change the world.  And she said that they (my parents) had learned that each one of us in this world has the ability to make change in the world and not necessarily as the President, or other important figures.  You pick your little corner where you can make a difference and that’s how you change the world.  So I will pick a corner, and do the best I can I help the victims in Haiti.

3 thoughts on “Desensitization/Re-sensitization

  1. AddieRose Mayer

    I think you make so many good points and also capture some of the inner struggle many of us have in finding the balance between action and complacency…because indeed, both have an important role in most people lives.

    If I may give my two cents I think there is ANOTHER option to giving money (especially when we don’t have much). That option is to recognize the way in which tragedies in other places are interconnected with the choices we make each day and working towards making choices, putting out time, energy and money into making systematic changes that in turn have an impact on the rest of the world. I know you as an individual, and probably many of the people who read your blog, already live intentionally, and thus I mean no disrespect. I do, however, think it is important to bring these discussions up during a time of turmoil.

    In a more direct way, this is what I mean: Haiti has been in distress for years. Before this horrible natural tragedy they experienced tragedy on a daily basis. The political reality in Haiti has meant many kidnappings, disappearances and displaced families. People have been forced to harvest charcoal for so many years due to the immense poverty they live in and thus their land is literally eroding into the ocean. It is said that if you fly over the island you see a visible line marking the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a result of the environmental devastation. Haitians are unwelcome in the D.R. If a natural disaster is what brings to light the problems in a country for you then jump on it then! Relief is important right now but if we had done more before maybe they would have more on an infrastructure/ more support to deal with it. Maybe if they weren’t in survival mode at all times they could have had time and money for prevention….

    In terms of the bubble…my personal solution is to never get to disconnected from the pain of the under-served people that we do have access to…hell many of them are our neighbors if not our families. We have desperation, hunger and violence right next door to us. When we stay connected to that we make better choices. When we make better choices and fight for better international policies then we impact the world in a better way…and then we can cry, if we want to, when we read the paper and feel as intensely as we do about the otter lying dead on the side of the road.

    Reply
  2. AddieRose Mayer

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this Kate…and for having a space that’s safe to respond to….you already are doing something with no money!!!!

    Reply
    1. katewalton Post author

      Thanks for your comments, Addie! I always appreciate your perspective, and it is important to try and keep things in perspective. It’s sad that it sometimes takes a tragedy like Haiti to bring awareness to people. But like you said, if there’s an opportunity to bring awareness, it’s better than none at all!

      Reply

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