Elqui Valley in north-central Chile

Image via Wikipedia

An earthquake in Chile today. Just yesterday my sister had told me that an old high school friend’s daughter had moved there. The friend had been down visiting her daughter and, I thought, was back home.  When I read about the earthquake, I asked my sister about the daughter. Her reply:  Mother AND daughter are there. No word from them, but we think they’re okay.

I was struck by my reaction to this, but first some more background. I, like my sister, went to high school with the mother. I had seen the daughter, many years ago, as a little girl. She was now living in Chile with her partner. So, here’s the thing. I was vaguely concerned when I heard about people dying in Chile. I was slightly more concerned when I realized my sister’s friend’s daughter might be close to the quake; but when I realized that our high school friend was down there, I felt a physical sensation go through my body. It felt like fear for this woman, whom I haven’t seen in years, but I knew her.

I guess this is all pretty predictable, but it struck me, and I paid attention to it. I’ve always been critical of people who were more concerned with people who lived closer to them – fellow countrymen, for example, as opposed to foreigners. I’ve always, and still do, think that all people, regardless of where they live, deserve the same amount of happiness and prosperity. Yet, there is no denying that the closer the person is to us – the more real they, and their pain, joy, whatever, are to us.

No big revelation; just noticing. My thoughts and prayers go out to  Chile, as well as the Pacific islands bracing for, and being swept by, the tsunamis.