Thursday, May 11, 2023

Life After Turkey's Earthquake

I signed up for five weeks here - arriving with the first of the volunteers - and I plan to stay for the duration of my three-month visa. The physical devastation is widespread, as I have witnessed spanning at least from our base of operations in KahramanmaraƟ to Antakya. In the case of the latter, it appears an entire city will need to be rebuilt. 
The human devastation is hard to explain or even fathom, but surely every tented family has their own story, and we just offer our labor, time, and what we can in the way of compassion to make life a little better for those we can reach who find themselves in this holding pattern.
I suppose the tent living for us is a blessing in disguise in that it offers us some shared experience with the Turks and Syrians who have been living in the elements for some time now without the comforts of home. And in working close to where these people reside, we are fortunate to gather some sense of the struggle of humanity - in its imperfections, setbacks, disappointments, and simple joys. Being a part of this is probably why I stay, though it too is a difficult picture to capture.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

I Hate Valentine's Day

It is understandable why people love the holiday centered around romantic love - especially if you are accustomed to getting things. Heck, it's probably like a second birthday, without the aging requirement! 

However, for many singles, this day is like not being invited to the party. And the people who do get invited want to tell you all about what you missed! Perhaps it is akin to Thanksgiving if you are too poor to afford a meal, but even then, there are people and organizations giving out food. Nobody cares about the lonely on Valentine's Day.

Of course, for decades, it was quite normal for me to work on the evening of Valentine's Day. So, it was my job to help make your night even more special. Champagne for you... and you... how about a chocolate dessert for two? Me? I'd probably have a slice of pizza and a whiskey around midnight after you all get out of the restaurant.

It's an annoying holiday, and you will probably still rub it in on social media how great you've got it. And even though I hate Valentine's Day, still... ugh, still... buy the flowers, buy the chocolate, write the poem, get that fantastic bottle of wine... hell, buy the ring. If love is in your life, you ought to try to keep it. And if you're smart, you'll do that every day and not wait for a special occasion to prove to someone what they mean to you.