In a moment, in an afternoon, we can be drawn down from the height of Maslow's Pyramid to the very bottom.
I have a water cooler in my kitchen. Clean, delicious spring water is available all the time, both very hot and very cold. What if I was suddenly unable to say when I might get my next drink of water, any water?
I have a pantry, a fridge and freezer with various foodstuffs in them, and a grocery store less than a minute's drive from my front door. What if the ocean swept over my stores of food and the food store as well and left nothing behind?
What if it was cold and there was no gas heat available?
What if I hadn't closed my eyes for days and had no idea when my opportunity for sleep would come.
No safety, no security, no assurances... everything gone.
If I remember my college psychology correctly, Maslow says that we cannot move up the pyramid if the lower levels are not satisfied. Without taking care of our most basic needs, we cannot have a close personal relationship, realize any feeling of accomplishment or achieve any higher level of realization. I believe this to be true.
How many survivors of this week's tragedy will be stuck at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy for weeks, months or even years?
I feel not a small amount of shame tonight that I haven't appreciated more the gifts I have been given in my life.
They could all be gone tomorrow.
I have spent too much of the last three or so years complaining how hard things have been, whining that the level of life awesomeness has dropped significantly and bemoaning the increased stress I've had to suffer.
What a waste.
So here's the plan: While I'm able to float in the upper levels of Maslow's theory, I am going to take advantage of it. Today I have food, shelter, health, safety, love and security. Tomorrow I cannot say.
If I am thrown back down, as so many have been instantly and tragically tossed this week, I want to say I took full advantage of top of the pyramid while I was given the opportunity to bounce around up there.
For me, more than anything else, that means writing.
What higher endeavors are on your priority list?