Farther along


Why me?

A hymn whines about injustice:

Farther along, we’ll know all about it.
Farther along, we’ll understand why.
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine.
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Maybe we won’t.

Some weeks ago, one night I got a sinus headache.  First one in a long time.  I wondered what to tell myself about this, and wound up externalizing an internal conversation.

I don’t recall what my parents told me, when I was a child, about events like this.  It’s entirely possible they told me the exact same things I would say now, but I rejected it.  My current posture is fairly recent.

So I imagined myself as a father sitting with my 6-8 year old son, who was going through similar physical pain.  What would I tell him?

1.  This is temporary.  That became a great comfort to me when I was dealing with kidney stones.  “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

2.  Some things just happen, and sometimes bring us pain, and there is no “why” to look for but the mere fact that the thing happened.  I will give an extended example below.

3.  Some things my parents would not have told me:

(a) Transparency applies to events as well as people.
(b) The pain itself can be changed into a healing salve.
(c) It’s essential to love the hurting member.

4. There is a great deal about the universe we will never know or understand.  It is enough to know that God is with us in our pain.  God is with you and for you, and will never let you go.  Related:  Free Speech Handbook, Guideline 12.

I’ve never seen anything like the summer of 2019.  In the Baltimore area, we had a greater number of severe storms, and the severity of those storms was greater, than ever before.  I’ve been here since 1978.

Many big, huge trees fell.  Sometimes one fell against a house and damaged or destroyed it.  Sometimes people in the house were injured or killed.

A car was driving down the road.  A tree fell and crushed it.  The occupants were killed.

Why did the trees fall?

Sustained hard rain saturated the ground to a depth of perhaps ten to fifteen feet.  The roots were unable to hold the trees in that ground, in the face of high winds.  So the trees fell.

Even if human beings were hurt or killed, that’s the why; there is no more to it.

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