Finding that inner spirit
Natural disasters and crashes
Facing life with courage
We are all connected in ways that we never could imagine and I truly believe we all touch one another in some way or are touched by others, even strangers because that is what we do in our life when our paths cross with others both directly or indirectly. It is inevitable and it is necessary. We must always remember that we should never feel alone and become so desperate that we feel our life is not worth living anymore. That is the furthest thing from the truth and the reality is that there are so many people relying on us and who truly need us. The saddest part of life is that so many people had succumb to depression and found they were in a difficult place that brought on great stress and challenged them to the point that they questioned their own ways in dealing and handling their situation and to compound it they felt alone and despite having family and friends they felt they could not turn to a single soul. Life is not perfect and there are times when we will encounter some difficult realities that seem to have profound effect on us and shake our very foundation but we must always remember that we should never feel alone. That is why there are support groups and hot-lines. If we can't reach a family member or a friend then we must find other avenues.
I have seen the brutal realities that so many people encounter and I often wonder how those who are directly affected find the courage to go on. I will relate some stories that I had no direct connection to but heard it in the news and it really had a major impact on my life and made me feel for the people involved. I write this because it is a part of life for so many and when we feel down we have to realize that there are others who are truly suffering and trying to find the strength to live their life with courage, dignity and an inner spirit to go on and the courage they summon in their life to go on truly inspires others.
I remember hearing an interview with a father who had just learned of TWA flight 800 en route from JFK Airport to Rome, Italy with a stopover in Paris, France going down in Eastern Long Island on July 17, 1996 and he recounted that his daughter and 2 granddaughters were on board the flight. It was so sad seeing the pain he felt as he related his hope and worry realizing they were on that flight and there was no chance of survival. As I see the names on the passenger and crew list knowing the brutal reality of what happened based on news reports and realizing the sad tragedy that in an instant of time the lives of these people seemingly happy and carefree one minute would come to a crashing violent end the next. It just makes you realize how precious life is and how we never truly know our fate. Life is for living and enjoying because we just never know what will be. Another sad reality of TWA flight 800 was the town of Montaurs, PA who sent young students on a dream trip to Paris, France trying to come to grips with the sad reality that those kids who were looking forward to international travel would never be coming home. It just makes you cry and wonder why!
I am a religious person and I have faith in God and Jesus and I look to them for strength and divine inspiration in my life. The things I wonder about though is why there is so much sadness and misery and pain in the world. There is a time I reflect and pray and hold on to hope and wonder why so many people are starving and living with so very little. It really tugs at my heart and makes me wish to help in some way. My reality though is that I have to be concerned for my own family's welfare and I feel sad that we live so independent of each other.
I never had the opportunity to visit the Amish country in Lancaster, PA and see how the Amish people live but I know that they are strong people and they all work together to help one another. That is their way and I feel that is a wonderful way to live. The amish people are also very forgiving people and I was struck and touched by their reaction of forgiveness to the gunman's family by their community and the families of the young shooting victims at their schoolhouse nestled in the town where 10 young girl students were shot by a lone gunman killing 5 of the girl's and eventually himself on October 2, 2006. The Amish families reached out to the family of the gunman and offered their forgiveness and expressed their sorrow. Some even attended his funeral. It was a true testament of the compassion and power of forgiveness these wonderful people have for one another that really touches us.
Did you ever wonder what it is like to be evacuated from your home because of imminent danger resulting from hurricane, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis or other natural disasters. I can not imagine how people deal with such impending threats and face the possibility of losing their homes, their prized possessions and possibly their lives. It is always a possibility that in our lifetime we will have to face such a threat and we need to always be prepared. I will never forget the reports of the devastation resulting from 2 tragic natural disasters. One was a Tsunami resulting from an undersea earthquake registering 9.0 in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 and the other was a hurricane in New Orleans named Katrina on August 25, 2005.
Both natural disasters swept with brutal, unforgiving force claiming many, many lives. The Tsunami was depicted in videos with such horrific and graphic portrayals of death and destruction and people being swept away for ever. It was a day I will never forget when I saw CNN breaking reports and the rising death tolls. It was during a happy time where I was celebrating Christmas with my family and we were watching our son playing with his new presents that Santa had brought him on Christmas day which was just the day before and as we were enjoying the day we learned of this sad tragic turn of events that were incomprehensible and a world away from us. As I saw the relentless force of the Tsunami and how the people in it's line of destruction had no chance. It was just a really difficult thing to watch and process. When all was said and done the number of casualties were staggering ranging to around 230,000 people and all I could do was pray for those poor people and wonder why this happens and why so so many innocent people have to die.
In the New Orleans hurricane the major failure there were the levees giving way and all the devastation caused by flooding. Most if not all of New Orleans was submerged in a sea of flooding resulting from the levees failing in the aftermath of the hurricane. So many people lost their homes, their possessions and many had even perished in the flood waters or in homes where they were trapped for day, weeks and even months. It was a total and complete failure of New Orleans infrastructure and a sad testament of poor planning and response in the time following the disaster. Human Nature is tested at these times of disaster and they usually bring out the good in all of us as we try as best we can to help in some way even if it is only a small donation to the American Red Cross or other relief organizations that does positive work to help people and communities in need. Foreign Countries also provide rescue efforts and direct aid packages to the areas affected and that is the positive side of mankind during times of crisis imposed by such natural disasters.
We have no way of avoiding such disasters and try our best to avoid them completely or ride them out with courage, faith and hope.
There are days in our life that are supposed to be joyous and shared with the ones we love and we never anticipate sadness or tragedy on such days. I remember years ago I was deeply touched in such a way by such a sad event that was portrayed in the news about 15 years ago that I had to talk to my psychologist about it because I just felt so truly upset and wondered why so much pain has to be experienced by family on a day that is supposed to be the best day of our lives. It was a tragedy beyond tragedy as the bride and groom were just married at their church among family and loved ones and they had just taken their vows to love and honor each other until death do them part. As they left the church in their limo going to the reception no one could imagine what would be their fate. As the limo made its turn to drive into the parking area of the reception hall in Long Island a driver involved in a drag race had come upon the limo and was unable to stop in time crashing into the vehicle and killing the bride and groom instantly on their wedding day. I could not in a million years understand why such tragedies occur and why so much pain and suffering has to be inflicted. It just does not seem fair. The driver of the car drag racing was unhurt and he has to live with the fact that he killed 2 people, a bride and her groom on their special day for the thrill of speeding and racing. This is mind boggling to me and makes me very sad. I also heard of other wedding tragedies and it just makes me wonder as I read a story about a cute little 7 year old flower girl who died in an accident in Long Island as she was in the limo and a drunk driver careened into the side of the limo where she was sitting and her mother witnessed it and cradled her precious daughter in death. It is enough to make you feel helpless and question why.
The accidents are numerous and happen everyday of our lives. It seems every parkway has a makeshift memorial set for a victim of a tragic car accident. It is something that happens more frequently as the number of drivers drinking and young drivers on the road increase. Just this past week I heard about an accident where 3 camp counselors were killed in a fatal car accident in Long Island going to camp Anchor. 2 of the victims were sisters and the 3 victims were in their late teens and early 20s.
Sometimes their are no words that can describe the pain and sadness felt and hearing these stories can really affect us even if we are not directly affected. Just being human makes us aware and sympathetic and our implulse is to always reach out and help even if it is hopeless. We all want to help and I believe that is the case with everyone. We must summon the inner spirit that makes us strong and do our best to help and provide support and a shoulder to lean on.
May those who have passed be blessed and rest comfortably in peace.
Edward D. Iannielli III