Powerless?-April 2009

Well, it’s happened again. Yet another tragedy in some part of the world I would like to see but have never been. The earthquake in Italy has left over 150 dead (last I heard) and a massive devastation, and right now people from all over the world are flocking in to help, as aftershocks add insult to injury. But as usual I’m doing nothing, it’s not that I don’t want to but what can I do?  I am off this week but it’s not like I can get on a plane and fly over there, I mean for one thing I don’t speak the language, I don’t have the money for the plane flight or any lodging and food, and I have relatives coming over from England tonight that I am meeting tomorrow in New York that I promised to take on a walking tour. So why do I feel so guilty about having fun while people are suffering, it’s not like I have any skills to bring to a disaster like that anyway. I mean I’m way too sensitive a soul to be hauling bodies out of rubble, I would wind up on the psychiatrists couch and have nightmares the rest of my life and I got enough trouble sleeping as it is. So what do I do?  Yeah of course I can send money in to News Channel 4 in New York to aid in the effort, but what is that…nothing, it never feels like enough anyway. You do it and then forget about it a day later.

I don’t even think the 911 victims family’s have gotten all the money that we all gave to help them, personally I think half of it went “downtown” if you know what I mean, and it just seems like a wasted gesture anyway, the money doesn’t bring back the dead or restore the old architecture of a place like that, just like New Orleans. It will never be the same as it once was, once you replace old materials with new it’s just a replica. I felt the same way each time I heard about a disaster natural or otherwise every time one happened. I know I can’t go there and leave my job, or my brother and folks for that matter and say “see ya in six months, good luck with the rent and stuff…let me know if you loose the house without my income-bye!” I know I can’t go there and give everyone a hug either, for one thing it wouldn’t help and I’d probably get arrested for another ( and no I’m not joking-when people are suffering  my first thought is to grab them and give them a hug if it’s appropriate, even though no one ever does it for me when I’m suffering) but my twenty bucks is just not good enough. This is what I hate about life, the feeling of being powerless.

This kind of thing really bothers me, I don’t have the freedom to act on my impulses and do what’s good and right when I want to, I always sit on the sidelines and weakly cheer for others who make a difference, I am mostly too wrapped up in the problems of the daily life of my orbit of satellites and myself to make a difference to anyone outside that orbit. It makes me feel like less of a man, like a kid still who sits in his room drinking soda while his dad works on the yard. I guess the only consolation for me is that now my dad sits on the sofa and drinks beer while I work on the yard. That is what you call full cirlcle.

So this is not one of my story’s that your used to reading, this is the real me spontaneously talking to you. Not like I usually do as if we are in a cafe somewhere exchanging  stories. More like the way I talk to my family when I’m ranting about something I feel strongly about. Some injustice coming from points unknown or the stupidity of our leaders, or the lack of planning that finds me putting out fires at work or at home that I can’t seem to prevent from starting in the first place. Why do you ask?  Because no matter what I do I just can’t seem to get ahead far enough to see all the traps and pitfalls of life on any front, and that really makes me feel powerless.


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Filed under Disaster, Italy, Life, My Truth, Rants, Travel

2 responses to “Powerless?-April 2009

  1. Hi Glen,
    I have read this post several times over the past few days(no, I am not a middle aged female stalker) and each time when I have gone to comment, the words have not been forthcoming. I’ll give it a try now .
    Natural disasters are a fact of life and for those of us not directly involved, I believe we all feel some level of survivor guilt. We readily contribute what we can, knowing full well that it is not going to make an enormous difference( re: past tragedies such as the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and more recently on a local level, the bush fires here) and like you, my immediate reaction is “What can I do?” Yes, we can donate clothing, blankets and offer accommodation to those individuals affected but it never seems enough. Bureaucracy, as you mentioned, always gets involved and one has to wonder whether any donations of money, material and food relief ever reach those for whom they were intended ,as was the case with the Tsunami disaster a few years ago.
    I remember watching CNN late at night here, when the first report of what was thought to be a light aircraft had crashed into the Twin Towers building( 11/9/01) and then watched as the drama unfolded,including the second jet plane crashing into the building. It was surreal. The complete and utter helplessness I felt that night is something I cannot describe, so I understand what you have been feeling. Life will go on my friend and you sound like you are the type of person, who will always be there for those in need in your family and the community.
    Best wishes

  2. Thanks Maureen for your comments, as always I value your input and the grounding it gives me. I promise some happier stories coming soon!
    Peace Glen

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