Disasters & Miracles

In the course of major disasters, whether natural or man-made, there are always instances of improbable survival. The news media, playing on human emotion and inclined toward melodrama, often refer to such events as miracles.

Religious persons, looking for the hand of God in their lives, accept this designation while ignoring why God permitted the disaster to unfold in the first place. Others, enamored with the concepts of fate and destiny, are also quick to accept a mystical cause for these events. More thoughtful humans, an unfortunate minority, realize that there will always be some survivors amidst the widespread carnage and attribute their good forture to a combination of luck and the hard work of skilled rescuers.

Regardless of how we might view these events, we must understand that those who survive disasters may be burdened by both the scourge of post traumatic stress disorder and by the opportunitists who exploit their survival. Their ordeal often leads to unwanted celebrity and they feel compelled to demonstrate that they are worthy of the miracle that saved their life. Unfortunately, human history is replete with those who survived a disaster but succumbed to the expectations of an adoring public.