Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Why, God, Did It Happen?

I've refrained from saying much about Twenty-Six Twelve for a whole range of reasons: I came in late, I did not participate in the initial debate, and everything I wanted to say was said already. But a thought, oh, a stupid, treacherous thought lingered in my head, and refused to go away.

Why did You do it?

For about 200 hundred seconds, you shattered a deeply-held illusion about our safety and our security. You showed us how vulnerable we are.

And then, while people died and lives were destroyed, you showed us how we could help others and salve their pain. You showed us how to be human again. You showed us that the Enemy may not be a true Enemy at all, and that even our foes are human, just like us, and even they feel pain and suffering. And then, miracles of miracles! Some of those foes began helping us.

You showed us how to have faith, didn't you? When the day was darkest and the winds coldest, You were there. You are always there. You could never abandon us, could You? We are the ones who turn our backs away from You, who forget You, and curse You, for the senselessness and the horror.

You showed us that others, even those we call our enemies, are like us. A tsunami can do that, I guess; it strips away the lies that we tell ourselves, the lies that say that the Hindu or the Christian or the Muslim or the apostate or the heretic or the atheist are not like us, but something else. Something less. You took that away. How many Muslims need help in Aceh now? How many Christians? Do we care? Should we?

You showed us the treachery of our so-called brothers-in-faith. The ones who exhort us the predations of our Foes, the Great Satan. The ones who urge us to turn away from them, even as they try to help us. Do our honorable brothers come to our aid? Did they hell. They tell us that what You did to us was punishment, and that we deserved this, even as we deserved our brothers turning away from us in our hour of need. Well, let them.

I hope that we will be wise enough , kind enough, human enough, to not turn away from them when they need us.