Bonding in a tumultuous world

There is a lot of upheaval going on in the world. There has been great agitation and turmoil in Egypt, Libya and other countries. There was an earthquake in New Zealand. With this latest earthquake and tsunami in Japan there is the worry of the possibility of a radioactive meltdown. At the same time here in Israel we have had our most recent terror incident of a family – parents and three small children knifed and murdered in their home, the youngest being a baby.

I cannot be apathetic. My entire insides are in turmoil, reflecting the outside turmoil. I don’t have anything brilliant to say. But I feel I can’t just pass these things by. Part of my difficulty perhaps is: What can I say? Sure, I can give all kinds of explanations about what causes one kind of calamity or another. But what do I know? And at the same time that I don’t know anything, what is happening in the world has to mean something to me.

As a Jew and as a logotherapist it has to challenge me. I have been writing recently about happiness. I said then that happiness is a product of being connected. In Frankl’s terms it is a product of meaning. Putting logotherapy and Judaism together we can say it is a product of being meaningfully connected.

When I feel sad and my heart goes out to others who are suffering, I am more aware that I am connected to them. I share in their experience. We are all one. A sense of bonding comes through a shared experience that is inspiring and positive.

But bonding also comes through tragedy. We can’t stop it from happening. But it makes us aware that we are not running the world. Anything can happen anytime. We can use these events, both large and small, as an opportunity to connect to one another. Put God in the center. See what we are doing through God’s eyes. Listen with God’s ears.

It makes the world seem a little bit smaller and less diverse because what happens in one part of the world influences another part of the world. I am filled with awe living at a time in history when things are evolving at a faster and faster rate. We live in a time when the earth is being shaken up. I feel as if God’s hand is right here…and then it seems to depart again, as in the Song of Songs where the lover comes to the door and the beloved has departed.

I feel God calling me through reality, saying “Stay. Stay at the door.” Don’t let go of the opportunity for closeness and connection to people fall away. God is here with us, uniting us all, as long as we acknowledge His presence.

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