Monthly Archives: March 2010

…for stillness!

Since yesterday morning, I have been listening to three thousand people talking about the same thing. Even more than that. Even people not here. Even people far removed and far away.

For those of you who don’t know, yesterday the Upland community lost some of their own.

Much like everyone else, I have been shocked. Stunned. Speechless.

Everyone has stopped. There is an air of stillness hovering over the entire campus. We are even mourning in our shuffled steps, in the way we walk across campus.

It’s hard to tell where God is in grief, or even if there is a God at all. But when I look in the eyes of those who grieve, and in the eyes of those who comfort them, I see little glimpses of what looks like God in-between them.

I went to chapel this morning not knowing what to expect. I was late, and noticed dozens of cars parked outside the building. I walked in and noticed a hinged stillness about everyone. And a small, still noise.

As I found a seat, I noticed that there was no worship. I went in searching for words, expecting eulogies, hugs, grief. Instead I found several people on stage wordlessly playing music with bells.

I watched them, and stared at the cross on the stage behind them. I heard the gentle chimes marching in front of one another, and tears in my eyes began to well up. I became overcome not so much with grief, but rather a sense of mournful beauty.

I sat still and prayed for the Nose family. For everyone dear to them.

Then the chapel service started. We listened to songs, sang along, and listened to a sad benediction by a heartbroken President. The lights went up, and people went on about their day.

And moving on didn’t feel right. It still doesn’t, in a sense. I feel like something unspeakable has happened to this community, and we shouldn’t live in today. To do so, in my mind, would be to dismiss what the tragedy that has taken place.

And then,

I remembered.

I thought of those left behind. Of the loved ones. Of the ones hurt most directly and painfully by what has taken place.

Everyone leaves someone behind who loves them. I think of the children these people left behind, of the coworkers, of the acquaintances. And if for nothing else, then perhaps we should move on for their sake.

And I’ve been trying to find meaning all afternoon. I’ve been trying to rationalize it. But I think that all of us, sometimes, try a little too hard trying to find meaning in everything. Sometimes bad things just happen, and we don’t know why.

And we may never find out, in this life.

And perhaps this isn’t even the most important thing. Even were we to know the why, would it ease the sting? Would it bring them home?

Instead, we are to grieve in this moment, with them. And then we are to move on. To celebrate the memories that we have. But supporting and helping those who mourn. Who hurt. We may never bring them to healing, but that isn’t necessarily our job.

Our job is to be there. To live our lives.

It is for this that I am somehow thankful. For how tragedy brings us together. For how it, if only for a brief moment, unifies us. Makes us still. To remember that things are sacred. And to remember to love.  To remember to be thankful.

Please pray for the Nose family as I am praying for them.

Amen.

…for health care reform!

Health care reform.

Alone, these three words are enough to spark debates and arguments that will continue into the wee hours of the morning. Depending upon who you are talking to, you may be conversing for months. Years.

I am writing because, last Sunday night left something of a bittersweet taste in my mouth: sweet, in that President Barack Obama managed to actually fulfill one of his campaign promises; bitter, in that this promise will probably only be carried out in the broadest, most general sense.

Holding my breath, I’ve been doing my best to avoid the inevitable landslide of right-wing rage that will likely pour out in this country, on this campus. At the end of the day, it’s probably justified. At the end of the day, many Americans will probably still go to bed without coverage.

I am no exception.

Other than basic emergency room coverage, no one in my immediate family is benefited by health insurance. My father leads a struggling small business, upon which he recognizes the government through paying taxes, and upon which the government recognizes him through receiving taxes, rather than boldly using them.

So what are we to do now?

This morning, I prayed for the country. Which is, to me, a strange thing. Typically, I pray for the people closest to me, dearest to me. But today, I prayed for the direction that God will take America. I am not so proud as to say that God only loves America. As a song once mentioned, God has the entire world in His hands.

When I think of the days to come, the months to come, I am excited. I am terrified. For myself, for the ones I love, and for the country that God has used to bless me thus far.

And though my cynicism whispers in my ear, telling me that the rich will become richer while the poor will become poorer, I pray for God’s provision and mercy, and remind myself than God is bigger than everything in this moment. God is, bigger than health care reform.

As I see it, the bill is not everything that it can be. That it should be. It is disappointing. Yet, I see it as an opportunity for people to rise up and take initiative. For the few fumbling congressmen trying to use it to the good. For the angry detractors who seek alternatives that actually benefit those in need.

Not too long ago, I read in the paper about doctors that take time out of their practice to offer free services to those who are not able to afford it. What if this bill, regardless of how wonderful or how horrible it is, drove more people to follow this kind of example?

It is for these reasons that I am thankful for the bill. Thankful for what it could be, for what it will not be, and for what it will encourage us to do. My prayer for today is that it drives you to some sort of action, to remind you as it reminds me to more readily rely on our loving Creator.

God be with us. God bless those who inhabit this earth. God bless those who are suffering. God bless America. God keep us. Amen.