Wednesday, January 12, 2005

India, Tsunamis and a New Year

By: L.A. Kohl
Jan. 1, 2005
Published in the Wed. edition of the Bullseye, Jan. 12, Vol. 1, No. 12

I’m writing this article on New Year’s Day – while my husband is in Chandigar, India and a devastating tsunami is in the news every day. Chandigar is no where near where the tsunami hit, but I still can not help thinking about it, as I’m sure many of you can not. The daily news of the situation continues to grow more unbelievable. The death toll I saw reported today was estimated at 150,000. That number is staggering to imagine. It would be kind of like having all of Columbia (with college in session) and the surrounding small towns completely annihilated – we can not even imagine the ramifications of such a situation.

I have found myself visiting the Chandigar based “” web site – mostly for selfish reasons. It makes me feel a little more connected with my husband, to read news from the very town where he is working. But, it also gives me a type of “inside” perspective on the devastation that has hit their country.

I found it extremely interesting to read an article this morning, written by a “M.P.K. Kutty”, that was full of encouragement and challenge to his fellow countrymen. He used the example of a famous American to help make his point.

Many years ago, the famous inventor Thomas Edison stood looking at the ruins of his New Jersey plant, which had just been devastated by fire. Everything the 67-year-old man had worked so hard towards had literally gone up in smoke. But listen to Thomas Edison’s words of wisdom in the wake of that seemingly desperate situation: “There is value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God, we can start anew.”

What strength and determination is demonstrated in such a response! Mr. Kutty seemed to be challenging his fellow Indian people (and the people of Sri Lanka and other countries effected by the tsunami) to respond in such a way. The loss and destruction is enormous, and as with all events, it can not be reversed or undone. However, it can become a stepping stone, and need not remain an insurmountable stumbling block.

That challenge applies just as much to us. Tragedy and hardship take many forms. Mr. Kutty’s, and Thomas Edison’s approach is an age-old one, with its foundation based upon a faith in God. In the 61st chapter of the book of Isaiah, in the Old Testament (which was written close to 3,000 years ago) it mentions God turning ashes into beauty, and many other word pictures of ways He can help turn tragedy into triumph.

In the upcoming New Year, we do not know what kind of troubles may come our way. But even now, as a type of “New Year’s resolution," we can decide to face them with courage, determination, and a faith that seeks to find what good may be gained from disaster.

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