Crisis vs Peace

The opening scene of my favorite TV series is chaotic. Burning metal, screaming and crying people. It’s shock and awe at it’s finest. No warning except the brief turbulence and the engines shutting down. The airplane tears in half and crashes on a deserted island. It’s a much more traumatic scene than Gilligan’s Island. The TV series LOST dumps you with the terrified passengers of Oceanic flight 815.

One man, Jack, understands the situation and looks around. He’s cut, sore, and  just as shaken as all the rest. But his first reaction tells you who he is. Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia.

On September 22, 2004, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) awakens in the jungle and notices a yellow Labrador retriever darting through the bamboo forest. He runs through the jungle to a beach, where he is confronted by the carnage of the airplane crash of Oceanic Flight 815. Jack, a surgeon, darts from one survivor to the next, administering medical aid. He assists the pregnant Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin), enlists Hurley (Jorge Garcia) to watch her, and administers CPR to Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell), saving her life.

When you’re new it’s obvious who’s in charge. Very few try to usurp authority at first. We fit in. We do our job and go home at the end of the day. But what happens when we are all equals? What makes one person, like Jack,  take charge and take care of the needs of others? What’s their thoughts at that moment? What emotion spurs them forward while others can’t think? We’d all like to think we’d be the in control, calm person asking for supplies. Truth is there is no way of knowing what you’d do until you get in that situation. An interesting thing happens after the chaos of the first scene of this movie. Everyone, well maybe not everyone, turns on Jack. When the chaos calms and the fear is forgotten people start resenting the authority. In a crisis we look to our leaders as heroes. We want the strong, authoritative person. The military is our knight in shining armor.

Until the dust settles.

It’s not that we didn’t appreciate their help. Quite the opposite. It’s the crisis versus peace dichotomy and our country is in the middle of it. In a crisis we seek authority. Then we want to get on with our lives and left alone. According to conspiracy advocates countries create crisis to control the population. I’m not a total conspiracy geek, but I can see the reasoning. What we need to do as people is to understand why we want authority and how much is enough. I don’t have the all the answers, but it is something I feel we all need to think about. Do we live in a time of crisis or a time of peace? And how will we respond to either? Authority isn’t the enemy or the hero. Sometimes we need a person to step forward and take charge, but they must also be able to graciously step down when the crisis is over.

Slipping Into a Coma

Cliff (Photo credit: Oneras)

It’s difficult to work long hours then come home and write. It’s difficult to raise a family and keep a roof over their heads. What do these two things have in common? They are both things we want. And we want them more than the task is difficult.

The difficulty of the task is what heightens our awareness. If a task is easy we lose focus. We nod off. We slip into a coma. zzzzzz. Yeah, I’m right there with you. Ask the guy climbing the sheer rock face of the cliff. Does he have trouble focusing? Is his mind wandering? Maybe thinking about the game last night? No! He’s trying to stay alive. And maybe in the process he’ll make it to the top of the mountain and watch the little bitty people on the ground.

Are you having trouble staying focused every day? Maybe a couple of caffeinated drinks aren’t what you need. You’re bored?

Notice the symptoms. When does it start? Is it the job? Or it could be you’ve forgotten why you’re there. Pep talk time. You’re there to earn some money. That money pays the rent. It buys the groceries. Maybe you’ve forgotten your value. Do you need a reminder?

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (Cliff Swallows - low...
Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (Cliff Swallows – lower) and Riparia riparia (Sand Martins – upper) (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)

Did you forget where you were going? What thrilled you when you started? Remember that. Climb your mountain, dance your dance. No matter if it seems impossible. Even if it is completely impossible. So you never make it to the top. Who cares? Enjoy the climb.