The world events of the past week or so have spurred me back into writing. For some months, domestic affairs had focused my attention in other ways, but it’s now time to come out of writer’s hibernation.
Who can remain unaffected by the shooting down of the passenger aircraft MH17, carrying citizens of so many countries, and the rising intensity of unrest and casualties in Gaza? It may be that we have become somewhat desensitised with the conflict in Gaza, with the Israel / Palestine conflict being centuries old, but the number of lives recently being lost on a daily basis is both shocking and devastating. However, the shooting of a civilian aircraft has left us all is shock, disbelief and perhaps anger at this new kind of horror.
We, who are fortunate enough to live in a peaceful part of the world and are not faced with serious conflict on a day-to-day basis, have never felt that we are in any real danger when we choose to fly to destinations around the world. The shooting down of commercial passenger aircraft, with the obliteration of lives, simply does not happen in our experience of the world.
In a split second on the 17 July, with the shooting down of MH17, this all changed. The inconceivable occurred, shattering our normal expectations of travelling to places safely by air.
We are now faced at this point in time with coming to terms, not only with a most horrendous incident, but the occurrence of the unpredictable and the unforeseen, and the fragility of human life.
Suddenly the world does not seem safe, when so many people who were living out plans in their lives, with destinations, loved ones and work within reach, can become annihilated in a split second. We may be even angry and want revenge for the deeds of those who have killed our people and destabilised us, but we know that this will not return any guarantees for our future lives, and will simply escalate the level of horror that we will witness.
How do we make sense of such an event? What effect does it have on us all?
If you’re anything like me, your philosophy on life may be shaken, asking once again those fundamental questions: What’s the point? Why are we here? What is the purpose of my life, or anyone’s life, when we can all be wiped out in an instant – because we realise that at any time, this could be any one of us, or all of us. How do we move on?
There is the stark realisation that there really is no safety and surety in our lives, and that we are on earth for such a short time, with the only certainty being that the only time we have is right now.
How do we continue to use our earthly time? Do we give up, or do we continue to work for the causes that have motivated us so far? Can we use an experience like this to move us more deeply into love and loving relationships in honour of those who have died so suddenly and tragically, to grow the good in the world?
For as long as we have life, we have hope, even if it may seem distant in these times. I have learnt that when hope seems out of reach, and the temptation is to give up, to just hold on tighter, and to trust in the unfolding of the universe. Beyond our human journey and understanding, there must be a greater wisdom in place.
Despite new horrors and evils that throw us off balance, the loving thoughts and actions that arise from tragedies such as this, are testimony to the conviction that love surpasses evil and death.