Blogathon for Pearlington

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Life and Death Go On

One of the most difficult, unfair things about Katrina is that the world can’t come to standstill while we recover. Not only do babies keep being born and people keep having birthdays and high school reunions and church potlucks, but all of the bad things that happen when we are least prepared keep rolling our way too.

My mother broke her hip right before Christmas after living in a gutted out house all through the fall. A vice president at my school was killed in a car accident after he and his wife spent the year displaced from their home. My friend just lost her father after spending a year going through constant ups and downs in trying to get into a new house after her home was destroyed.

In Pearlington, things are no different. Car accidents and heart attacks and fires have claimed lives. People have suffered illnesses. Children have had trouble in school. Puppies have been run over. In short, life has happened, and there is nothing anyone can do to change that.

Sometimes it gets to the point that you just want to throw up your hands and scream, “Haven’t we had enough, Lord? What happened to that no more than you can bear caveat?”

I wish I had something wise and immensely comforting to say. I’ve been to one funeral after another all summer, and by now I should have my sequence of comfort verses down—“Consider the lilies”; “I shall lift mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help”; “I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course.” And so on.

I have no adequate response to the tragedies upon tragedies I’ve seen this year. If I were the preacher I’d have to say something about how God never leaves us or forsakes us, but I think it’s only natural that people wonder where God has been in all of this.

My only answer is that we’ve seen as much good as we have bad, and we have to hold on to that thought. We have to remember the lives of our friends, not their deaths. We have to appreciate how people came together to help each other, not the way the storm tore everything apart.

I learned this year that plants put out new growth when they’ve gone through a trauma. We had things that bloomed out of season last fall for that reason.

Maybe people do that too. And maybe that’s where God has been—preparing us for new growth.


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