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I haven’t made a whole lot of headway in my faith journey this past week. In part because what faith I do have was shaken a bit by the disaster in Haiti – what kind of God wreaks such destruction? what kind of God has followers like Pat Robertson who say that such destruction was deserved punishment? – and in part because I found it easier, in reacting to the crisis, to draw upon reason and reflection. Not that these are antithetical to faith – I don’t believe that for a second – but they do – they did – cause me to move my attention away from questions concerning God and gods and faith and spirituality and to ask myself more concrete questions about the politics of western intervention in poverty-stricken communities, disaster-stricken or otherwise, and the ethics of social media activism in times of crisis. My education in political science and philosophy kicked in, and it kicked in hard. It’s comforting like that.
But then the girl asked me why had these bad things happened to those people in Haiti and why weren’t we rescuing any of the kids there and couldn’t they maybe come live with us until their mommies and daddies were found and are their mommies and daddies going to be found and all of my well-formed thoughts about the politics of blah-blah-blah and the ethics of whatever flew right out the window and I was right back at Haiti as a kind of Lisbon Disaster, an event that rattles both faith and reason, wondering what kind of God caused the deaths of children and caused children to become orphans and how – oh, how – was I going to explain this to my four year old?
I said something, in response, about how sometimes, bad things happen in the world, and we don’t really know why. And I said that I wished that we could make sure that all the lost children of Haiti got to live somewhere nice and safe and loving, and that people were working on that right now, and that Mommy sent them money to help them do that, and everybody was really, really doing the very, very best that they could to make sure that everybody ended up safe, as safe as they could be, and that everybody hoped that we could work towards making sure…
And then I wondered whether that would come true. And then I prayed/meditated/reflected – which is to say, I prayed, in my way – and although I didn’t find any answers and I didn’t feel any less heartbroken, I felt a little more at ease with my answers and a little more comfortable with how I was sharing my heartbreak with my children.
Maybe this is part of my spiritual journey, after all.