Earlier this week while I was waiting in line to pick up Patrick at Westerly Elementary I was listening to Talk of the Nation and was stunned a little at the topic of conversation. Did God cause the tsunami in Asia? A caller from Florida, a Sunday school teacher no less, said that this was one more act of God as we head toward the apocalypse when only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as savior will live in His kingdom and the rest will burn in hell.
Of all my boys, Patrick seems to have an above-average grasp of the Catholic faith and its teachings. He looked up at me with his eyes bulging.
“Mom! Does that man think God caused the tsunami?” he asked.
“Yes, he does,” I said. “What do you think?”
“Duh! It was an earthquake on the ocean floor. Besides God loves everyone and wouldn’t hurt people like that." Enough said as far as I’m concerned.
But this notion has perpetuated in the media and I find it deeply disturbing and yet not surprising all at the same time. In the wake of such tragedies we all search for something or someone to blame. In this case, we cannot. Who do we blame? Plate tectonics?
A friend sent me this column by Mark Morford of the San Francisco Gate. He writes with such passion about the randomness of the act and I thought I'd share this segment with you.
He writes: “Maybe you see such horrors, as I tend to do, as a call to carpe diem, to cherish the day and enjoy the moment like never before and maybe make a change in your life and your perspective before it's too late and because you have nothing, really, to lose, and because life is frighteningly fleeting and it can all be literally washed away in the time it takes to walk your dog to the park and back.
“Primordial. Primeval. Prelapsarian. Many other polysyllabic words come to mind to describe the tragedy that only seems to point up the fact that we know far less than we think we know about How It All Works and even less about Why the Hell We Have to Be Here to Witness It.
“And what's worse, there's not a damn thing we can really do about it all, except get slapped, again, with the fact that life can be unspeakably violent and brutish right alongside stunning and beautiful, and there is not a single place on the planet that is absolutely free of potential catastrophe or epic disaster or slow and painful rebirth. Nowhere.”