The number of fatalities in the wake of Hurricane Ian are still climbing as the clean-up continues. What is clear is that most of the deceased are elderly. As a woman who has suddenly found herself in that age cohort, it gives me pause.
As always, I have questions. Why? Were they slow to heed warnings? Were the warnings mostly on technologies that aren’t part of the lives of most seniors? Did they not take warnings seriously? Was there no place to go — or no way to get to safety? Do we become rigid in our age, and think we’re invincible and we know better, even as we become physically frailer, and often, and, this hurts, are we not thinking clearly? And then there’s that other question… Where are the family and community connections that involve people in preparation and decision-making, that help everyone get to safety?
Where are the civic groups whose work is to consider the well-being of at least some part of the whole? Who takes over as churches and social organizations play a smaller role in the lives of our nation. Whether or not we’ve grown comfortable with life as it is today, society has changed. Humans however have not evolved individually anywhere near as quickly as society has.
Our need for connection remains, and the well-being of our populace depends upon it. The pandemic isolated us for our own safety… but catastrophic events like Hurricane Ian remind us: we do not have the capabilities needed to handle some things on our own.
So, how do we identify and tend to our community — not simply our on-line community, but our community where we physically reside? How do we assist one another to make good decisions? Our individual and community well-being is tied to that of our neighbors.
And if you’re committed to Peacemaking, being a good neighbor is one way to begin. And that starts with getting to know your neighbors. Small steps lead toward Peace.
Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.