I could be angry, but instead, I just feel pity. Pity toward Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson and all the people who think those two men have a point. I pity their lack of faith, their subscription to fear and bullying tactics in the name of Christianity, and once again, I wonder, "Are they reading the same book I am?"
I've read the facebook status quotes, and had my own moments of wondering why the earthquake in Haiti happened. I imagine that God is quite sad, and busy with all the comforting and shoring up of faith that is needed, especially right now. I've spent some moments grappling with my faith over Molly Hightower's death. Molly was a 22-year-old graduate of my sons' high school and the University of Portland, who was killed in the earthquake while volunteering in an orphanage there.
I arrived at that high school yesterday morning to give scheduled presentations in health classes as a guest, and sat quietly with the class first thing in the morning as the announcement was made that Molly's body had been found. I wept with others as they informed us that the morning's liturgy, which had been planned as a prayer service for all those in Haiti and for Molly's recovery, was now a memorial service, that overflow seating would be in the theater, and that media had arrived to cover the event.
I sat amidst the younger students in the theater during the mass. I prayed, wept, sang and passed the peace with them, and listened to Molly's uncle Craig, a priest at Bellarmine Preparatory School, lead the service. And I was lifted up by the faith, love, community, and respect of over 1000 students, faculty, parents, and community members who joined as one to honor Molly's life and pray for those still suffering. At a memorial service, I was lifted up. I am deeply humbled by that.
There could have been anger. Instead, there was sadness, respect, and honor. This girl died doing what she was called to do, what she loved doing, and she was doing good in our world. She was giving her love in a place it was most desperately needed, and to those who longed to feel human love and God's love. Yes, it's a tragedy, but there is also a beauty in a life lived that well, that fully, and that filled with faith. And her life is what the school, the church, her uncle, and her family chose to focus on.
This morning, after having heard the ugly comments made by Mr. Limbaugh and Dr. Robertson earlier this week, I opened up my browser, and there was a wondrous sight. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush standing together, united in their concern for Haiti and using their joint power as current and past leaders of our country to appeal to us for help. God is indeed alive, well, and working miracles.
One of the greatest gifts we have from God is our free will. I challenge you to find the miracles in this tragedy. I am not asking you to ignore the tragedy--look at it full on, and then look at the good people are doing in its wake. Focus on that. Build on that. Pray about that. Give to that. Find ways for your children to give and help make a difference. Build the hope. I believe this is what Jesus would have done.