February 11, 2023

Pancakes & Rubble: What the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Reminded me about Life.

My friend’s daughter is three years old.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. She lives in a big house. If she’s ever hot and it’s summer, she has air conditioning; if it’s winter and she’s cold, well, there’s central heating.

She has her own bathroom and takes showers daily with hot water. She has a nice playroom with everything a child can imagine. She watches TV every day and dances to her favorite TV show. You know that one song a child gets attached to that sickens the parents? Yeah, that’s the one.

She wakes up in a warm bed next to her mommy and daddy and wears the coolest clothes a kid could wear. I get pictures of her every day; she’s so cute I can eat her up.

She has the luxury to ask for cookies and yogurt and her grandma’s orange cake. And oh, let’s make pancakes! That’s beautiful, right?

But then I open Instagram today—just like every single person on the planet—and I watch this video of a dead body being pulled out from the rubble. But it was not just a dead body; it was a story. This man was a father, and his body was attached to another one—a much smaller body. As they pulled him off, there it was. He was holding on to his son, protecting him when the earthquake hit. He was hugging his son thinking that maybe, just maybe, I would take the hit and my little boy would be okay.

He thought right. Just as his body was removed, they found the young boy breathing; they held him and rushed him to the ambulance.

I spend the whole day in shock. Maybe shock is a big word, but I think you guys get the gist of it. This little boy was stuck in his father’s arms for over 40 hours under the rubble of collapsed buildings, and he got to survive. He probably tried talking to his father but got no response; he probably figured out his father passed away and he was just there between his dead father’s arms under concrete for over 40 hours.

I’m sorry for having to tell this story, but it has taken the whole of me.

And I’m not seeking answers here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have questions. Where is the fairness of it all? What’s the purpose of it all? How is it okay that in one corner a young child is waking up to pancakes and running around her dog on a big terrace with the sun in her face and in another corner a young child is stuck in the arms of a dead body under rubble in freezing conditions?

It just doesn’t make sense. And it’s not anger or sadness that’s typing here. It’s simply confusion—the inability to grasp the big picture.

I woke up on Monday morning to my bed moving from side to side. At first I thought it was my dog breathing heavily but as I lifted myself up to check on my dog cuddle underneath the covers, the bed started shaking more, my dog woke up and went crazy, the doors started creaking, and I sat there waiting for the earthquake to stop. I don’t think I remember if I panicked or not. But I recall waiting for it to worsen, maybe, but it didn’t.

Today, I still can’t grasp the reality of what happened. I can’t in a million years imagine what is going on with those who experienced it in Syria and Turkey, but it’s so unfair. It is so unfair.

I don’t see it. I don’t see God. I don’t see faith and belief. And I know it’s mother nature, but how can it be so cruel?

Better yet, my question is, how are we not better prepared to the notion that mother nature is cruel? Why are our lives filled with hope and beauty and not a glimpse of the fact that it’s all about suffering and a struggle?

I apologize for making you read through an article that’s somewhat negative. And believe me when I tell you, I do not mean it. My fingers are typing certain feelings and thoughts and I can’t but share them.

Share them for this following thought.

I watched a movie last week, “Everything Everywhere, All At Once.” One of the best movies I have seen in a while. But here’s how it ends…“Nothing matters.”

Nothing matters. We live our lives caring about the most ridiculous things; we want to shop, go out, dress well, eat well, look great, get into arguments, be great, be famous, make a point, make a statement…I can go on.

Nothing matters. We could be out of here in a second, we aren’t special, and what happened to the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, lovers, and neighbors in Syria and Turkey can happen to any person on the planet and nothing matters.

Nothing matters. So you know where to put your energy with your loved ones. Just love them. Love them and be with them, present, as much as you can. Don’t pick fights with those you love, but if you must (if you must fight and I get it; I do it all the time), make sure it ends right after it starts. Don’t hold any grudges.

Because nothing matters.


Please consider Boosting our authors’ articles in their first week to help them win Elephant’s Ecosystem so they can get paid and write more.

Read 7 Comments and Reply

Read 7 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Stephany Khalifeh  |  Contribution: 2,760

author: Stephany Khalifeh

Image: @guardian/Twitter

Editor: Elyane Youssef