Crying With China: Thoughts on Transcending the Mundane
When I listen to touching or sad stories on NPR, often tears come to my eyes. Sometimes they fall down my cheeks. Rarely do I start having to catch my breath because I’m really crying
Last Wednesday was one of those rare times. It was a devastating story about a young Chinese couple frantically searching for their young child in the rubble of a collapsed apartment buiding. Two days had passed since the earthquake, but this couple still had hope their son and some grandparents were still alive.
Maybe it’s because my toddler is exactly the same age as their toddler. Maybe it’s because of the heart-wrenching wail of the mom towards the pile of rubble, “Wang, Mom is coming for you!”, is exactly what I would have wailed. Maybe it’s because of that final description of the dead boy cradled in his dead grandfather’s arms.
I cried for a good 20 minutes over this story. And when I had finally gotten myself together, it struck me that I was profoundly grateful for that story. Grateful. What a strange emotion towards something that had made me so sad.
Hearing this couple’s agony was devastating, but it also made me feel… human. So many days of my life I just do my thing in my comfortable life. I bristle with annoyance at bad drivers, I try to maintain patience in the face of toddler tantrums, I buy the groceries. I am encircled in the everyday.
But to have those few moments when I absolutely transcend the mundane, when I feel a stranger’s pain and mourn with those who mourn, when I feel overwhelmed with empathy – it was exhilarating and awful and wonderful. These were moments of infinite depth, moments where my soul recognized a sister and brother a world away, moments where I truly felt my humanity and my oneness with God’s children.
What helps you to transcend the mundane? What in your life helps you to feel your oneness with humanity and the universe?