Change of Plans

On the Fire This Time

As I was writing a blog on the effectiveness of communication counseling for couples, I received a frantic text from friends who just moved to Maui. Amid the fire’s rampant rage, their message made me urgently turn on the news.

The blog, with a different theme than the loss of life and the devastation of a community, seemed incredibly irrelevant in the face of these events. I tried to keep writing but couldn’t. My mind could not turn off what was happening in Hawai’i. The loss of life broke my heart. Animals and humans, homes, and businesses—all were burned up. Publishing my original blog seemed so inappropriate.

For 60 years, this wonderful island and the town of Lahaina have been dear to our family. It was where Tim and I were married, where our family spent many magical holidays—and it was gone.

It was a fierce reminder to us who love Hawai’i and the dream of “Paradise” (readily accessible and merely a plane ride away) that this is just another p lace on the planet dealing with the problems existing in the rest of the world.

These terrors are seemingly always in the news. The daily stories might include the floods in China, refugee camp horror stories, whales dying, and Uganda’s president sanctioning one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTIQA ever, including the death penalty. Each story tightens my belly and breaks my heart a bit more—but this one was even closer to my personal life.

How could I blog about the effectiveness of relationship counseling, faced with everything I was hearing about the loss of life? Yet should we stop living our daily lives when facing all these calamities?

Then I contemplated the bigger question. How do we find the best in life when it seems most days, we hear a new story about the world falling apart? Shall we turn off the news (which some people do) or watch it 24/7 (as other people do)? Or should we (as I choose to do) accept the world as it is, with all its splendor and horror?

I believe we must allow ourselves to grieve each new loss and human suffering, doing what we can to mitigate some of that suffering and remembering that there will be heroic rescues, miraculous tales of survival, and communities coming together and rising up.

I am including a live interview below that was profound for me. It was a reminder that we can be rescued from the edge of grief about the world by compassion, humor, witnessing courage, the power of a community when it works for the common good, and appreciation for what remains (his four dogs helped!).

I hope that, in it, you will find meaning and inspiration. Tune in next month to read the original blog.

All the best,