The month of May has finally arrived, and while it’s only the fifth month of the year, 2011 has already proven that it’s going to test what we are made of. Mother Nature has been lashing out and wreaking havoc in nearly every corner of the globe. In case you’ve missed it, I’d like to give you just a quick recap of what we’ve experienced so far:
Flood: Australia & Brazil
Tidal Waves/Tsunami: Indonesia & Japan
Earthquake: Argentina (2); China; Japan (6); Iran; New Zealand; Vanuatu; Burma; Thailand; Fiji; Indonesia; Mexico; and the U.S.- California (2)
Tornado: United States- North Carolina; Alabama; Arkansas; Georgia; Kentucky; Mississippi; Missouri; Oklahoma; and Tennessee
In terms of devastation, the world could only stare in stunned silence at the newsreels depicting scenes from the earthquake and following tsunami in Japan earlier this year that killed more than 18,000 people and left more than half a million more homeless. The Japanese government has predicted that it will take more than three years to completely clear the debris and to rebuild those things that have been destroyed.
Likewise, the tornados that occurred this past week in the United States are the single most deadly natural disaster to occur in our country since Hurricane Katrina. It’s hard to imagine the amount of damage that a mile-wide F5 tornado can cause- with winds up to 260 miles per hour and the ability to travel over 300 miles- but the results are startling. A state of emergency has been declared in eight states, including my home state of Missouri. One of the tornados ripped through my hometown- devastating the homes of many of my family and childhood friends.
Why do I bring up such depressing facts? I do so to point out the strength that we as human beings have been forced to show in these past four months. I’ve witnessed some of the greatest humanitarian aid initiatives ever conceived- from the powerful response to the devastating earthquake at Christchurch, New Zealand to the global rally of efforts to support the nation of Japan amidst their devastation- and we are making a difference.
I can’t help but notice the amazing level of resilience that those impacted by these natural disasters are showing. They are acting as living, breathing beacons of hope for the rest of the world to stand and admire, and they are showing us that nothing is insurmountable.
Monday Morning Perspective:
“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” -Napoleon Hill
“The leaders I met, whatever walk of life they were from, whatever institutions they were presiding over, always referred back to the same failure – something that happened to them that was personally difficult, even traumatic, something that made them feel that desperate sense of hitting bottom–as something they thought was almost a necessity. It’s as if at that moment the iron entered their soul; that moment created the resilience that leaders need.” -Warren Bennis
I know that each of us can be faced with challenges in life that at first glance seem impossible to overcome. The loss of a loved one or friend, the loss of your family home, or some other crisis in your company or personal life- any or all of these can make you feel hopeless. But if there’s anything that we can learn as global citizens from this year’s events, it is that with every tragedy comes the opportunity for support and hope. Recovery may not be immediate, but it is inevitable.
The devastation in Japan is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history, but they will rebuild. The people that have survived will be forever changed- stronger individuals with a greatly strengthened sense of community. They will show the rest of the world what the definition of resilience really is, and they will share that determination and hope with the generations to come.
The fact is, no matter how devastating the circumstances, we are always left with two choices. We can resign and quit, or we can be determined and hopeful. We can walk away, or we can rebuild. We must take pride in the hurdles we have overcome, embrace the ones we are currently trying to surmount, and have confidence that no matter what the future holds that we can only grow from the experiences life (or Mother Nature) throws at us!
Here’s to being resilient- and have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.