I was sitting by the desk of a work colleague and noticed the day’s paper with the headline “Italy earthquake leaves 150 dead and scores more trapped under rubble.” I asked him, “What do you think?” He simply shrugged as if to say, “What can I do?” “Comfortably Numb” came to mind (also the name of a Pink Floyd song from their album The Wall). Sadly, this is how most of us react to disasters that occur in faraway places.

U.S. Army Sergeant Kornelia Rachwal gives a yo...

U.S. Army Sgt. Kornelia Rachwal care for a young Pakistani girl.
There is a number marked on the girl’s forehead.

Hundreds of thousands of people can die in wars, a tsunami or an earthquake, and we are numb to it.
Sitting in a comfortable recliner chair watching the nightly news on a wide screen TV with our favorite drink in hand does not awaken sensitivity. And, because “those” people are in the farthest “sixth degree,” our minds automatically tell us to “click away.” We’re quickly on to the movie channel searching for the latest comedy or the sports channel to watch a game of winners and losers without blood and certainly no death.
I find myself trapped in this same kind of comfortable numbness. Being exposed to too much of it has a definite effect—one slowly becomes desensitized. So, I said to myself “Awaken your sensitivity! You’re not numb. Write about human suffering.” I started writing an article but instead what came out was this poem.

Images of Pain

I can see the screams,
I could feel the pain,
on foreign TV
in a local broadcast
flat images of news
and professional voices

the ravaging scenes
of falling walls
rubble and dust
Mother Nature’s wrath
quakes and mortars
sounds of disasters

soldiers and innocents
bodies in bags and
barrels of blood
commodities of governments
bloody politicians in a game
without rules
to rule
and the earth…

a mother awakens to
a cry,
the cry of her child
“Mommy, where’s dad?”
How can she explain
when it doesn’t make sense
the pain is sharp
and burns the heart
of a sleepless mom
daily emptiness
and answers…
nowhere to be found

wipe the tears dry,
my son
let the cry die
mortars and martyrs
took daddy away
where angels are weeping
“it’s not your time…
why are you here?”

I was following a flag
of peace, I think…but…
it was fake and a lie
I was driving supplies
to feed a town
then there was a blast
the fire was quick
in seconds, wreckage
metal and life

didn’t have a chance
to say
“I love you junior,
don’t follow lies,
never put out fire
with fire

architects of wars
in marble towers
mad engineers
and traders of blood
slaughter the young,
the future of life

Where are you,
my friend?
I missed you
last Saturday night

prom queen was waiting
for your promise to keep
“I’ll be back,” you said
but you never said
you’ll be wrapped in
a flag
peace and death

— Zion Nefesh
April 2009

Each time we watch the news with its daily dose of tragedy, we need to remind ourselves that those disasters involve real people, real life stories, and real pain. Pause what you’re doing for a moment and meditate on the people. Your thoughts could be healing beams of energy that will help them cope with their pain.

Before we become numb yet again, please forward this article and poem to your friends. Add the link to your social network sites and blogs—Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. Let us be more sensitive and inject healing consciousness in every situation of pain that we see.

I care for you…

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