It is heart wrenching. It really is. Watching the devastation and destruction in Nepal, all of a sudden things are put into perspective. As the daily death count rises by the thousands, we can't help but somehow be put in our place. As images pour out of our televisions and our newspapers of ruined lives and devastated villages, we can't help but be reminded just how lucky we really are. We are forced to pause and think; to consider and ponder. If only briefly. And in that moment, it becomes all too clear. We view our own lives through a different lens. We become introspective and self-reflective. We begin to assess all the things we normally spend our waking hours grumbling about, and realise, yet again, as we do at Christmas, or at funerals, just how little we really have to complain about. The daily commute becomes futile; the Saturday shopping seems banal. Who does the washing up or puts the bins out doesn't matter. Even the long, cold and miserable grey days we spend so much our time grumbling about becomes comforting. When such horrific natural disasters strike, it hardly feels fair to complain.
On the contrary, with such stark reminders that there is a world outside of checking schedules to see which weekend we're next free for a birthday party, or when the next termly swimming lessons start up again, or when the annual parking permits need renewing or the next MOT is due, something clicks, and we slow down. We start to think. We start to think of our own families, of our own children, of our own friends. From our sofas, seeing the images of crying children on the television, we are reminded just how precious our own children are; seeing the thousands of families made homeless, their lives laid bare, their possessions strewn across mountains of ramshackle rumble, we are reminded just how warm and secure our own homes are. We are reminded how easy we have it. We are reminded that we have so much. Work becomes tolerable; because it affords us holidays and clothes and meals out in restaurants. The laundry becomes choreless; because it's easy and convenient. The alarm clock becomes helpful; because it gets us up in the morning to see the start of a new day. A luxury many don't have.
And unfortunately that's the truth. Sometimes, that's what it takes - a tragedy, to see just what we have and how lucky we are. Because, under piles of bills, deadlines and social engagements, it is easy to forget. We can get so caught up in our busy lives that we sometimes do not see; we speed through so fast, from dawn to dusk, from start to finish, finalising plans, pursuing our own ends, meeting this and doing that, we lose sight of what we have. And it is only when confronted with disaster, it is only when we see tragedy spread out in front of us, that we slow down enough to take stock.
Until, of course, the toast pops up. And it's time to go; the children need to be taken to school, the baby needs to be changed, and we have to check our phone, wallet and keys. Because, as we close the newspaper, or turn the television off, we can make the world of disasters and plight disappear. We can click them off. We don't need to take them with us. We don't want to take them with us. Because we haven't got time. We've got people to see, places to go, careers to pursue. There is too much to be getting on with. We've simply got too much to do. Perhaps it's just easier to give £10 and forget about it.