Hurricanes, fires, tornados, blizzards, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, plagues, wars, tsunamis…What do they all have in common? Chaos, destruction, and death. As Plato once philosophized, war is at the center of every society. By the foundations of what society is, it simply cannot exist without war. So, what is to say society cannot exist without tsunami and earthquake? How do we move on after both natural and manmade disasters? Well, there are two roads to take. One leads to sorrow, pain, and suffering, while the other leads to recovery, newfound strength, and a better tomorrow. We can be so content in life—so wonderfully at peace—and then all our joy is turned into ashes. It is not such moments in life that define who we are. For in those moments we lack the need to improve, the need to make change, and the need to step out the door and discovery the secrets of life. In those moments, we sit around indoors and marvel at the wonders of the world but fail to make a difference. It is without a doubt, unequivocally the moments when we are tested—the moments when things seem like they won’t ever get better—that we show ourselves and the world who we truly are.  

For the past fortnight, Indonesia has endured a level of hardship few of us may ever face in life. A 7.4 magnitude earthquake on the Indonesia island, Sulawesi, caused a tsunami to hit the city of Palu (a city 50 miles from the center of where the earthquake took place), and close to 200 aftershocks. The death toll has risen to well over 2,000, climbing from under a thousand from the first few days. Over 5,000 remain missing at this time. Bridges, houses, businesses, offices, and estates have all collapsed. All over the news, there is talk about a whole number of “why is this news” information being announced when there are far more serious and devastating topics like these to be examined and made known. Just think about those numbers for a moment. The earthquake and tsunami took place on the 28th of September, and the death toll is still on the rise! Too many of us overlook the numbers in these sorts of reports. Over two thousand are dead! Over five thousand are missing! Food, water, and shelter is in a shortage for those who survived. The search for sons and daughters continues. Rescue operations are mired due to the absence of heavy equipment required to move the broken rubble. Voices can be heard under the rubble of some 8-storey hotel wreckages, but that is all. Schools serve as shelters for the homeless. People continue to die as a result of all the turmoil.  

Thousands of families are in distress and mourn for their loved ones. We see a relatable occurrence happen in television and film and read about them in books. To see it transfer into real life is enough to instill fear regarding the future of this world. It is truly a challenging time for all those effected and at loss of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends and partners. Take a moment of silence to reflect on what it would be like to lose someone so close. We should all be grateful for everything we have in life. At any given moment, things can change entirely.  

While the report is daunting news, it is pertinent that we understand these chaotic, worldly affairs so we can overcome the toughest of challenges that life presents to us. As mentioned before, there are one of two roads to take. The people of Indonesia could give up and forget something like this ever happened. Or they could fortify themselves, their land, and their outlook on things.  

For some, courage likely hangs by a thread. It is in these times that we must move forward. These are the times that define who we are as a unified people. These are the times that define who we are as individuals. It is human nature to struggle. It is also human nature to endure. Hope has always been, always is, and always will be the foundation of a better tomorrow. Relief agencies must step forth to aid in the recovery process. We must all lend our helping hands to those in need, and we must all spread awareness that the environment is endangered.   

This depicts the need to always be on guard and ready for whatever challenges us in life. Life may seem unfair at times. It is as fair as we make it. Quite frankly, humans are partially at fault for these disasters. Even though they are brought forth by nature itself, pollution of all kinds heavily aids in their occurrences. The journey was never going to be easy, nor was it promised to be easy. If it was, we would never learn. And that is the everlasting goal of life. To create a better tomorrow, we must plan today and turn to each other to comfort us and lift us up when we are down.  

This is not the end. It is the beginning. It is the cycle of life on earth. We will endure. We must.

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I radiate both internally and externally, an infinitude of passion for creative thought, an unending lifelong code of self and peer-improvement, and an idiosyncratic perspective and outlook on all things good, bad, and in between. I believe that when we are, one day, gone, all that will have mattered is what we did to change this world, for better or worse.