Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reflections on Tragedy and God

The last I left off with you, I had been telling you about the long week I've just experienced.  Now that it's Saturday evening and I've had a full day to digest it all and come to a sense of normalcy again, I'm feeling much better. It's really amazing how time really does make things better and just a cool 24 hours from craziness, things don't seem as crazy as they were.

This is a really difficult post to make.  All of the things I'm going to refer to here are of a highly personal nature, and I need to be as sensitive as I can to not say too much, so I hope you understand.  I share this here because the nature and scope of the things I want to share are about life, and how to live it...

Mourning Children

Very sad day today and a reminder to appreciate all you have. Just remember, we all have our own problems, but there's always someone out there who's got bigger ones! Don't sweat small stuff...

This was a status I posted on Facebook sometime Thursday afternoon.  It was written somewhere in between a mass mourning and a personal shock.  As many of you know, I am a teacher by day, and I absolutely love my job.  I love kids and I am both proud and honored to be able to give back to society by working with children and helping to guide them through the formative years of their lives.  Working with young people is rewarding, frustrating, joyful, and so much more, and this week I got to experience some of the pain that comes with being up close and personal with children on a daily basis.

Earlier this week, a young student in my school passed away after collapsing on a field a few days earlier.  He was only fourteen years of age and from what I could see this entire week, he was a very likable and popular young man, not only with his fellow students, but with his teachers, as well.  You can imagine the enormous amount of grief that was expressed that morning and the entire day after his death.  

After a sullen assembly in the auditorium, my students and I sat down and discussed the tragedy.  I reminded them that they didn't have to know somebody to feel sorry for them, and that was the case for me, too.  Even though I did not know the young man personally, I could feel, and still do, the enormous sense of loss associated with his death.  My heart goes out to his family and his friends.

Questioning God

Contemplating this tragedy has once again brought me to a place where I feel I have to question the existence of God.  I mean, how could God allow such a thing to happen to an innocent young soul, who had yet to live his life?   Some say that when a person is taken too soon it's because God needed them, but I still don't get it.  Then something else happened.

The death of this young man was but one tragedy I experienced recently.  Over the past several weeks, I've borne witness to the suffering of other innocent children at the hands of the violent, and I feel helpless in trying to make things better for them.  Perhaps I just have to accept that I am powerless to prevent such things.

All I know is we all need to appreciate the things that we have, while we have them.  I believe the timing of these things in my life has made the Thanksgiving season even more relevant, and a reminder to practice one of the Keys of Life: Live in the Present. We all need to live life not dwelling upon the past or contemplating the future, but always in the present, aware and appreciative of the things around us.  Again, do not sweat the small stuff!    

Here is a piece of poetry I penned after this week's events.  It will soon appear on the Yahoo Contributor Network, but I present it here first...

Why God?

I believe in God

Sometimes I just don't understand Him

Especially in times like these when things make no sense
Tragedy and suffering afflicting the children

A young boy
An unexpected tragedy
Taken too soon
Why would He allow that to happen?

Some would say it was just his time
A young angel called to do His service
Perhaps this is true, yet it is still tragic
But what about the living who suffer?

A young girl, scarred for life
Unconscionable acts perpetrated against her
Mistreated, abused, unloved
Why would He allow that to happen?

Suffering such is an even bigger tragedy than death
Innocent souls tortured in perpetuality,
Body, mind and soul
God save them from their misery, not!

Yes, I still believe in God
Sometimes I just don't understand Him
Perhaps I'm not supposed to
But I wish He wouldn't allow these things to happen

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  1. I'm so sorry for the tragedy that you have experienced. The questions you are asking in the wake of such a happening are perfectly normal. We all ask them at such times! I know many people who have lost children, and it is the most difficult and seemingly senseless thing that we can experience. If one has any kind of faith at all though, then you must believe that even if we do not understand what the reasons are, THERE ARE REASONS nevertheless, and we will come to understand them when we are meant to. Also, any person of faith believes that this physical life is not all there is to the picture. When our physical life ends here, we move onto another plane of existence. The event that we know as death is merely a transition into a different existence!

    Loved your beautiful poem, my friend. Excellent and heartfelt work!

  2. Well said my friend! Thanks for the comment!