I imagine it’s instinctive, when you hear about natural disasters, to ask yourself what you would do or how you would cope. It taps into the same gene that makes men want to know about fighting and war, to find out once and for all whether, when the chips are down, you are a man or a mouse.
But then you see footage of things like the Japan tsunami, and the conversation takes a different turn. Early in the video above, as the wave starts out as a trickle, you see a car speeding away from it and think – yeah I could do that, I could drive away like a Hollywood car chase. If the water came faster I’d be sure to open the window enough that I didn’t get trapped but stay in the car for protection, or I’d drive into a shop window and get on to the roof, or I’d jump on a scooter and just make it, or any number of scenarios.
Thirty seconds later, you realise that the person in that car, unless they are incredibly lucky, is not going to make it. Never mind the water; cars, lorries, boats and even houses are sweeping down the road faster than you can drive or run.
You can have as many daydreams as you want about movie-style dramatic escapes, but the bottom line is that they are just daydreams.
However brave you are, however swift and courageous, no matter what you do — with some things you just don’t stand a chance.
We spend thousands of years building societies and beliefs and buildings and more, but they can be swept away in minutes. So today, while it’s still light, or tonight under the moon, just pop outside for a minute and look around you, and have a little think about all the tiny things you have that you don’t even notice now because you take them for granted, and appreciate them. You might not always feel it, but on the whole you are incredibly, incredibly lucky.
Click here for an absolutely chilling series of “before and after” images of Sendai.
Click here to visit Google’s disaster response page where you can make a donation.
This Taoist saying seems apt:
When you discover nature’s power
to break through all obstacles,
You will discover that this same power
is inside of you.