Prayer #69: The Face of Tragedy

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. {F. Scott Fitzgerald}

Prayer #69: The Face of Tragedy

Annoyance is relative. Suffering is relative. Tragedy is not relative.

Tragedy is absolute. It upends the natural order. It halts daily life. It carries great loss. It bears misfortune. And in its powerful eddy, we find ourselves swirling first in disbelief, then in shock, then in terror.

What message can we read in airplane debris, Lord? What shapes will form from the blood in the bathtub? What does the fine print beneath the fine print in the foreclosure notice really read?

And why, Lord God, are some lives more tragic than others? I've done nothing to deserve less. Others have done nothing to deserve more.

Abandonment. Betrayal. Catastrophe. Disaster. All terrible states that carry darkness with them like a shroud. No wonder many suffocate beneath the weight.

But then I see the family albums. The community event. The donations. The memorial service. The phone messages. And they all poke tiny holes in that doomed cloud, so that for a brief moment, fresh air enters the living tomb.

Lord who is devastated by our tears, expand our lungs at such times to gulp in this hope. Help us at least imagine the world of comfort beyond those pricks of light.

Because though tragic flaws exist around us and within us (yes, Lord, in this creation You built), they do not have to govern us. We can and will move forward, as long as Your compassion goes ahead -- the only flickering lantern in our sight.