The earthquake in Turkey has put me in mind of a very real truth. Bad things happen, yes. But a loving response counters the traumatic reaction. Now, by loving, I don’t necessarily mean sentimentality or nice thoughts. I mean, real roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, dig deep into your pockets and get to work love. Turkey, like all areas of disaster is in need of resources to respond to people whose lives are on the line. If the people and governments respond with on the ground compassion: resources, rescues, care and concern, then, we know the chances of lingering PTSD are lessened. When people have bad things happen and do not feel loved or lovable is when major trauma can set in. In a world where people’s tragic circumstance and pain was met with an abundance of love and goodwill, PTSD numbers would dwindle down to almost nothing, and the cases that existed would resolve quickly.
What holds us back from love? Embarrassment, fear, laziness, lack of personal responsibility, disconnectedness, and lack of awareness are some reasons. Sometimes we feel we may be diminished if we express our love, give out our money or our resources, tangible or intangible. It’s OK to feel this way, in a passing way. But these feelings are not true, they are based in fear. You know that sale slogan, “the more you spend the more you save”, well, this is literally true about love – the more you give, the more people are saved by you. We do not know, cannot know who benefits from our kind glance, our soft word, our dollar given or our time donated. What I know for sure is that what patients tell me sustained them through horrible traumas were people who cared.
One last reminder: in healing the other, we heal ourselves. Without triggering yourself, just spend a moment sending your intentions of goodwill to the suffering in Turkey, and then follow it up with some concrete action. It doesn’t have to be big. Rain nourishes the ground with many small drops! Just do something. Blessing to you all and to those suffering tonight in Turkey.