|Signs of Fall...|
Alright, so it actually started in late August and has continued into early October but, in more than twenty-eight years of working in TV news, I can't recall a 6-week period that has been more frenetic, tumultuous and tragic than the latest one; not that my memory is great but just saying!
Obviously, I'm not comparing it to the ravishes and destruction of wars or certain terror attacks, including September 11th, but the continuous succession of incidents in the last few weeks has been mind boggling and, frankly, exhausting.
It began with Hurricane Harvey flooding Houston. Then the monstrous Hurricane Irma, which threatened South Florida and had us scrambling days before, pounded the Caribbeans before ferociously hitting the Florida Keys and Southwest Florida, killing 124 in the process.
Then came the earthquake in Mexico City that left over 360 known deaths so far.
Afterwards, while peoples' heads were still reeling and Harvey benefit drives were replaced by Irma drives, which were replaced by earthquake drives, Hurricane Maria hit and devastated Puerto Rico, killing at least 34 and leaving the island's infrastructure paralyzed, to the point where power may not be restored in some areas for months!
And, then, as if that wasn't enough, there was Las Vegas, where evil was personified in the face of a cold blooded killer, who randomly shot over 500 people at a country music concert, killing nearly 60 in the process before shooting himself. It became the deadliest mass shooting in American history. (I'm not even going to think about Hurricane Nate, which may be another threat very soon!)
All this amidst the growing nuclear tit-for-tat, which fortunately has taken second stage, between Le Grande Orange and Little Rocket Man, in possibly the worst political climate and government stagnation in American history.
It's surreal. As the Green Day song says, "Wake me up when September (or October, or the way we're going, 2017) ends, please!"
|The gangs all here...|
This week, my daughter underwent a surgical procedure, where they had to put her under general anesthesia. In all honesty, I didn't think much about the surgery because of everything that was happening at work. In other words, I was sleepwalking through my personal life because of the chaos in my professional life; distracted, as our priest says, by the 'cacophony of noise' that surrounded me. Until I finally got around to thinking about it, the day before the surgery! Then, I realized the gravity; not that anything was going to go wrong but that anything could go wrong. I'm sometimes amazed by my own denseness.
In any case, the night before the surgery, I gathered the family together to pray a Rosary for my daughter. It is something they started doing with my Mother-in-Law (while I was at work), in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma, when it looked like Miami was in the storm's direct path.
The next morning, I planned on going to work like normal but, after my wife headed to the doctor's office with our daughter, I started growing more anxious. So, I called the office to say I would be late.
By the time I got to the doctor's, our daughter was already inside. My wife suggested I go get some Cuban coffee and as I walked out to the street, I started praying the Rosary again. It had a calming effect. It always does.
It's like Pope Francis recently tweeted, "Only in the silence of prayer can you learn to listen to the voice of God."
It's difficult to understand why God allows hardship and strife in our life. But, in seeking His help, we often find peace; like the Apostles found on the boat in the midst of the storm when Jesus calmed the wind and sea.
|Good Samaritans at work...|
I think of that waitress that held a stranger's hand as he bled to death in Las Vegas and, after answering his cellphone and telling first his girlfriend and then his mother that the man had not made it, waited over five hours with the corpse, so that the body would not be lost in the mayhem.
Or the many volunteers who rushed into the rubble to pull out victims in Mexico City. Or the priest who went on a kayak looking for food and supplies for his poor parishioners, who had lost their homes and belongings in Houston.
God is in the whispers; in the unsung heroes, who become the hobbit, the elf and the dwarf when others most need it.
As a survivor recovering in his hospital bed said in Las Vegas, "I witnessed the worse from one person but I witnessed the best from thirty thousand people."
I'd like to think that trials and tribulations, suffering and even staring death in the face at times, is God's way of waking us up from our slumber; getting us out of ourselves and focusing on others. Because, only when we get out of ourselves do we truly stop thinking of our needs and reflect God's love in the world.
It was St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrated this week, who once said, "Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood, as to understand, to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
Therefore, wake me up, wake us all up from our slumber when September, or today, ends...
[pic credit: Getty Images]