Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Asian Tragedy

What to do regarding what just happened in Asia? For most of us in this world we attempt to be present through the media’s coverage. We are not there to bury bodies, to provide water and food, to console the devastated who have lost everything. What to do? What to do? We can send money, and we can pray.

And what shall we pray? One prayer seems like such a small flame to hold up amidst the dark of such immense human suffering. God help the victims and the helpers. God be with the souls of those who have been suddenly released from their bodies. God help us all. I wonder how many feel bitter at the mention of God? Isn’t God the one who gets blamed for natural cataclysmic events? Isn’t this an “act of God” as the insurance companies will call it? God is tending Galaxies millions of light years away. Can’t God prevent such things? How can one believe we exist in an infinite sea of Love and yet live in a world with such suffering? Why is it the poor and the children who so often are affected the most by natural disasters? How can we believe in mercy in the face of heartless devastation?

These are the cries of grief feeling its own helplessness.

Sadly, perhaps only events like these can soften the hearts of humanity and bring us closer to the true values of life and the importance of helping each other. Perhaps it is events like these that will cause us to ask other questions, such as, what would the world be like if Love were the highest value in everyone’s hearts, thinking, intents and actions all the time?

Can we justly blame God for the world’s suffering? I don’t know. The world is as it is. I imagine God could have made it differently: safer, more regulated. Yet I am learning that spirituality is about accepting life on its own terms in order to create goodness out of the stuff of life, and that very much includes events like the world is now suffering. To trust in God is to trust that a wisdom great enough to create the Universe is behind the reality of life as we know it. We are so blind and deaf to the sublime dimensions of the spiritual realms around and within us, and yet when human tragedy stops us in our tracks and calls us to compassion, kindness, and mercy; when the wail of grief reaches us and makes us feel one with all our brothers and sisters of all religions and nationalities, perhaps we are taking one step closer to that place of Love and peace in the midst of a sometimes dangerous and yet always beautiful planet we call our temporary home.