Concrete Crumbs and Splintered Dreams

One moment you are following your normal weekday routine, then with the next breath life as you know it and all you own is gone. I can’t imagine the shock, pain and grief that so many mothers, grandpa’s, cousins, friends, colleagues, and grandchildren are going through in so many parts of the world as an earthquake, volcano, fire, tsunami, cyclone, flood or tornado rips their lives apart and leaves them with concrete crumbs and splintered dreams.

It seems like every other day there is a new natural disaster on our tv screens. Some of the images I’ve seen in the last ten short weeks that have been 2011 have broken my heart as I’ve watched so many, many people suffering in Australia, New Zealand, Japan. While there’s not much I can do to help, it has made me re evaluate my life.

Many of us spend our lives earning money to buy stuff, to insure that stuff and pay for storage for all that stuff we’ve collected but are too busy paying for to use or appreciate. Yet in one breath it can all become concrete crumbs and splintered dreams.

So when nature strikes and your life shatters around you, or when your life is finally done, what really counts? What is worth spending a life time working on and for?

Having considered this for ten weeks I have come to the conclusion that when all our stuff is stripped away there are only 4 things that remain.

  1. Who we are – Our character remains when all else is gone. In fact, disaster, natural or otherwise, are the things that bring our character into sharper focus. We can’t hide who we are. The Japanese are a perfect example of this. Despite the horrors that trap them; the hunger, thirst and cold they suffer; the fear and grief bearing down upon them, they quietly, orderly obey directions and wait for assistance. Their character of dignity and respect is wonderful testimony to the world of who the Japanese people are.
  2. How we’ve spent our lives – What we’ve done in this life can make a difference. Have we been kind and generous to others? Have we been a good friend and loving family member? Is the world a better place because we have lived?
  3. Our relationships – Will we be missed? How many people will post our photo on search sites? Or will no-one notice that we aren’t there anymore? Our relationships with family and friends are a very important part of life and who we are. They can survive any natural disaster. They can help us persevere and revive.
  4. Our faith – When everything else in your life disappears in sudden, short seconds, your faith can be your strength and refuge. Or you can realise the place where you put your faith has also disappeared. Natural disasters shake faith too. When Haiti lost over 300,000 people in a few earth-shaking moments many Haitians turned to their faith in God. In the midst of the pitch black of that first night of earth-shaking uncertainty hymns were being sung by many, despite the dire situation engulfing them. Those with faith have a spiritual refuge and hope in times of catastrophe. Those with no faith are left with the hopelessness and helplessness of their concrete crumbs and splintered dreams.

Question: What do you think is the most valuable, lasting part of your life? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Concrete Crumbs and Splintered Dreams

  1. Pingback: Certain Wealth in Uncertain Times | Walk With the Wise

  2. Pingback: Reflections at EOFY | Walk With the Wise

  3. My plan is, when I HAVE gone, that people will remember me as someone who loved God, and did her best to love as many others as I could!

    • I feel for the people of Christchurch as they are barely through the crisis stage of their disaster and now the world’s focus has moved onto Japan (who also need help). Let’s not forget Christchurch or Haiti or Japan when new tragedies occur.

  4. So far, the only consistent part of my life has been a belief in God. My passions have shifted and changed, as have my careers, and even my family. I guess the only consistent part of life is change.

    • Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      Change is consistent, some we can control and others we can’t. That makes a solid faith in a God who does not change (“I am the Lord and I do not change.” Malachi 3 v 6) so much more essential for life and sanity.

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