I have noticed a trend. I am sure you have noticed it too. Disaster happens. Blame game follows. It doesn’t seem to matter what the disaster is either. The latest is the winter storm in Atlanta that stranded thousands of people on the highways. People are blaming the governor, the mayor, and the DOT for it. Seriously? You think they somehow caused a winter storm to blow north into the city instead of the predicted south? It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. In an effort to make ourselves look good and someone else look badly, all sorts of people start pointing fingers. But isn’t hindsight always 20/20? If we had known about the storm shifting in Atlanta, we would have all made different choices. If we had known the levies would break in New Orleans, we would have handled everything differently during Katrina. If we knew Hitler was going to kill millions, we would have joined the fight sooner. If we had known the Japanese would attack, Pearl Harbor would have been ready. If we had known hijackers would blow themselves up and use the planes for bombs…if we had known a boy was going to shoot children at a school…if we had known the car would run off the road…if we had known there was disease in our body…if we had known our children would rebel…if we had known our marriage would end…if we had known our spouse would die…if we had known our business would fail…if we had known. If we had only known. But the point is that we didn’t know, nor could we have. That is the essence of disaster whether it is national, local or personal…you do not know it is coming. There may be hints, but without the context, hints are only whispers in the wind. They mean nothing until after all is said and done.
Then we say, “they should have known” or “if he/she had done this instead of that” or “I should have seen it, how could I have missed it?” but in reality anyone could change things in hindsight. That would not be hard at all if only we could travel back in time, but we cannot undo what is already done. Blame is our way of trying. I get it. I really do, but I think the truth is there is something inside us that wants control, and in disasters there isn’t any. We grasp at the air trying to bring some order back to our world which got dangerously close to reality. We like to think that we and our loved ones are safe from harm. That all of the precautions we take on a daily basis to make sure nothing bad happens to us are working. Instead, disaster shines a spotlight on the fact that sometimes things happen for no reason at all and that control is only an illusion. Our human nature says someone has to be to blame for our anger, frustration, and pain. We search for a target on which to vent. We can always find one. It’s easy.
But what if we take a time out from our blaming, and instead look at the source of our desire to lash out? Our fear of losing control…of facing that something bad could happen and we are essentially powerless to stop it. What if we look at that fear and choose to face it? What if we say, something bad happened that I didn’t see coming and since I can’t undo it I will make the best of a bad situation. I will respond in a positive way this time and learn from mistakes for next time. I will choose differently in the future because of what I learned through this experience. How hard would it be to realize that hindsight is always 20/20?