Letter 9 - When Tragedy Strikes

Let's All Become Heroes...

When your heart hurts to turn on the tv….
Tragedy is defined as an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress.  It is a short definition for something that is felt immediately and then inevitably has long lasting and far-reaching effects.

The problem with tragedies is that they not only include those involved – but it’s never limited to just them – it encompasses the families and friends left asking questions, the bystanders, the first responders, the community, and the country.

When tragedy strikes, no matter if it involves yourself, a loved one, someone you know, across the nation, or across the globe, we inescapably feel some type of strong emotion.

We can feel a sense of loss of security, immense sadness and grief, and sometimes we feel anger and hate. Tragedy can make us feel alone, like we are the only ones who shoulder the burden. It can make us want to pull back from society to protect ourselves and those we love.

With our fast-paced lives and less face-to-face contact due to technology, crazy schedules, stranger danger, and the media, it can make it very hard to retain any sense of community. It is too easy to stay inside our homes and become secluded.  Isolation can lead to detachment from others, a feeling of us versus them, and breakdown in community.

Community is what keeps us connected, it grounds us to where we live and to those around us. The strength of those connections is the litmus test for the health of a community.  Everyone plays an important role and everyone matters, you matter – never forget that.

We are not all the same here in Cowlitz County, and we wouldn't want it that way. Our melting pot of backgrounds, lifestyles, priorities, and philosophies make us who we are and adds to our uniqueness. No matter where we stand or what our views are, we share the common goal to make our community better one day at a time – that’s what connects us and moves us forward together.

So how can we strengthen our community, how can we move pass tragedy – become involved, make a concerted effort to insert yourself into something outside of your daily routine, be a part of something bigger than yourself.  We know everyone is busy, we get that – we all are.  It comes down to priorities and what you choose to have important in your life.  When you make the Community a priority – it can do nothing but shine.  Communities thrive on involvement.

When tragedy strikes we need our community more than ever. Tragedy will change us, we can't help that, but we can choose how it will affect us. We can let it destroy us and make us bitter or we can let it bring us together and make us better.

So let's get up, get outside, and get involved.
Let’s work together to make our community stronger.