Over the last week it has been hard to miss the devastating destruction that hurricane Irma has left in its wake. A chilling reminder that life is a delicate thread and, in a moment, it can break.
Last week, as the storm hit land, I read the updates almost religiously, morbidly engrossed in the unfolding apocalyptic sights that were sent out globally throughout our media. I prayed for the survivors. I read about the billions of dollars worth of damage to each state or island, of the years it would take to rebuild lives and businesses and I tried to imagine even a snippet of what that might feel like. To have a home, a job, and maybe a business and then to have nothing. That daily routine of getting out of your bed, going to the kitchen, bleary eyed to flick the kettle on. Stepping onto your bus, grumbling about the commute to work. Working your way through your day, opening emails or talking to customers, would all change.
Hurricane Irma on Sint Maarten. Author: Ministry of Defence, Netherlands
After the hurricane has crushed its way through your neighbourhood, how do you stand before what used to be your home/ your place of work/ your business and look at it all reduced to rubble? Every morning that you had woken up early to get your cafe open in time for the eager office workers or every late night you had worked to make sure the final project was finished for a client or every Christmas Eve you opened your shop to make sure your customers could make last minute purchases. All of the number juggling, the passion, the smiles, are now forgotten to those people who look at what they have built and will have to start again, with new vigour, when it feels like just an effort to wake up in the morning at the moment, on a borrowed bed under a borrowed roof.
It's difficult, when you face a bad day, to try to remind yourself that you are lucky to have a job to wake up to. Everything is relative, right? Built up stress, unhelpful colleagues and everyday worries can often burden your ability to feel grateful for what you do have, even when across the world someone else's reality is so, so much worse. It's probably much harder to live in perspective than we care to admit, but perhaps sometimes, it is worth us being more reflective and to concentrate on the positive elements over the negative ones. There is always someone else who is far worse off.