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18 February 2016


Answering that great life question.

by Neil Jenman

What a cruel sea. And what kind people.

There seems no right word to describe the tsunami disaster. Devastating, surreal, awesome, tragic; such words have been used so often to describe minor incidents that they now seem inadequate for such a monumental disaster.

To understand the magnitude of this catastrophe, consider the following – the death toll exceeds the population of Geelong; or almost the entire population of the Northern Territory.

Try to imagine, if you can, that every person in Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane is now homeless. Or that every child in Sydney is suddenly orphaned. It’s almost unimaginable.

How petty most common problems now seem in comparison. And how magnificent the spirit and kindness in response to that heartless and cruel sea.

Nature is often described as beautiful; maybe, but it can never be trusted. It has no heart. As the preacher, J.H. Holmes, once wrote, “The universe is not friendly, nor is it hostile. It is simply indifferent.” Nature does not care about people. Only people can care about people.

As horrible as it is to see the suffering caused by nature, it is beautiful to see the kindness and caring from humans. The human heart can be more beautiful than anything nature can ever produce.

Perhaps the sea, in all its cruelty, has helped us all to answer that great life question – “How ought we to live?”.

With kindness, especially towards those less fortunate than ourselves.

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