When I hear the word "disaster", I think about the times in my life, hearing someone say "what a disaster, this dinner is a disaster, my day was a disaster, that relationship was a disaster..."
The other day, my day felt like a disaster when my heat stopped working, my daughter was stranded - having locked her key in her car and AAA was going to be a three hour wait, and losing my driver's license (for only four hours until I found it again).
I do know, even when blood levels rise and these things cause anxiety, my days have certainly NOT been a disaster.
I was up one morning in December at 4am East Coast Time and happened to catch a message from my family in Ventura, California, who were traveling south in the middle of the night in a caravan. They were evacuating their homes from the massive Thomas Fire heading towards them. When I called, I heard the hum of the car behind the sound of their cats crying, and could feel the silence that surrounded them as they drove from the unknown.
Disaster is your family evacuating fires encroaching on their homes and businesses in the middle of the night. Disaster is a community having their homes washed away by floods, rocks, and debris. That is disaster.
I can't say I know how it felt to be them, I can't even part way understand. I know how it felt to be across the country from my those who are my "closest people" during this traumatic experience. I would have rather been there with them than not. I know how I felt, as a daughter and sister, to know that they felt fear. I know how it felt to hear their voices on the phone talk about the holidays not feeling like the holidays - how they couldn't breathe the air outside because the smoke was sickening them - and how the spirit of their community changed overnight.
There is importance to being vulnerable in the world today, but when these disasters are out of our control, that vulnerability causes worry and fear. Our fears are our own and they change with what is happening to us. Perspective changes. What we do with it changes.
I burned our dinner last night. It was a disaster.