Deadly Earthquake Is Harsh Reminder of Nature's Power

turkey statueDozens of people are dead and even more buildings have toppled in a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey Sunday. As heartbreaking stories of the mass destruction were trickling out, at last count there were at least 85 killed and about 100 structures crumpled in two different eastern regions. Some scientists think the number of victims could soar to 1,000 before it's all over.

Horrible disasters like this are hard to grasp if you've never been in the middle of one, never witnessed anything like it up close. But they always remind me of how small and insignificant we really are, and how there are plenty of forces in this world -- like Mother Nature -- far more powerful that we have absolutely no control over.

It's a scary thought, but an important one to remember.


Turkey is the latest in a long string of countries to be flattened by such a monstrous quake. In recent years, we've seen the same kind of terror sweep Haiti, New Zealand, Japan, and Pakistan, to name a few. Not to mention all the places (the United States included) battered by other extreme forces like flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, famine, and disease. 

In a time when so much is literally at our fingertips, it's easy to forget that we're still pretty powerless. Even though we have access to a mountain of information with just the touch of an iPhone screen or the click of a computer mouse, we can't, don't, and never will control everything, least of all nature. Of course, plenty of people believe that the wild weather patterns we've been seeing are proof that Al Gore was right all along about global warming and that we can, in fact, do things to reverse it. But that's a topic for another post.

I'm not saying that tragedies like the one Turkey is dealing with right now are good, by any stretch. Reading about another earthquake that's caused more mayhem somewhere is profoundly sad and frightening. I'm just saying that they're seriously humbling. And we can learn something from them, as harsh a lesson as it might be. We can use these catastrophes as a reminder that we aren't almighty, we can't plan for or predict everything, and there is plenty in this world that we just don't have any power over. It's a reminder that we can and should let go of the fantasy that we're in charge of every aspect of our destiny. We aren't. And that's okay, in a way. It's just life.

Have you ever suffered through a natural disaster?


Image via Yodod/Flickr

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