A promising young pop star cut down in the genesis of her fledgling career. Forty-nine bright-eyed young men and women (sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends…human beings) in full bloom, executed by the blind rage and hate of sheer evil personified. The essence of innocence, a two year-old toddler dipping his tiny feet in the cool water of a world class resort, snatched in the jaws of a primeval alligator, dragged from the arms of loving parents, and drowned. Each a different scenario but all with the same haunting result: gone…without explanation. Simply gone!
Why? That’s the answer to the million dollar question my heart and soul longs to hear. If I can answer this burning question, I can explain the darkness, accept it, and move on.
Deep down inside, a part of me wants to simply turn away and not look, as if that feigned ignorance would make the horror of these events evaporate like the morning mist off the mountains. But even when I close my eyes, the visual reminders hang on the craggy peaks of my mind like scarlet banners. Though I want to, I cannot ignore these horrific moments. Yet, I cannot explain them away either.
In that vacuum, that religious part of me charges to the forefront to give a viable, even believable explanation—to justify, rationalize, and defend a system of cherished beliefs. But the shields and spears of sovereignty, justice, and judgement, of cause and effect, and of choice and reciprocity, create more questions without answering why. And, it makes it easier to rationalize away my revulsion at the utter distress our nation’s shared experience. I will not rationalize these moments away—the people involved are far too precious…and real.
Ultimately, from the depths of my spirit—my faith part of me cries out in despair, “Why, O God, why?” In the tumult of those moments, every answer ever given in human history shoves its way to the forefront of my mind and jockeys for position—loud, obnoxious voices with nothing to say. Finally it all becomes quiet—graveyard silent. And a reflection occurs—perhaps I’m seeking the answer to the wrong question. Yes, they are gone…and perhaps there is no explanation—at least not one I can understand.
And then it bursts forth—a thought, as it pushes its way into my shattered sanctuary of tortured solitude, echoing with intensity. A still, small voice—not a mortal one and certainly not my own. Then, this voice answers with the real answer instead of a question: “Why will not be the solution, but rather what are you going to do in the midst of it? What are you going to do because of it?