Once again we are awash in images of disaster, the deaths of innocent children, lives have been cut tragically short. These portraits of suffering become etched in our minds, reminding us of the fragility of life. Sacred innocence has been lost, unpreventable as a result of what the public calls “An act of God”
In the above statement we are confronted with some of the most profound questions of human existence. How do we reconcile the existence of divinity with events that clearly represent the very antithesis of what we believe divinity to embody? What place does our collective belief have in events that lead to tragedy for the most vulnerable among us?
We are clearly confronted with the realization that the monotheistic theory of omnipotence of divinity has little role in these incidents. These insights lead us to ask where is divinity in such events? We come face to face with the fact that the equal opportunity destroyer that is nature is blind to human suffering.
So where is divinity in the wake of this crisis in Oklahoma? As a disaster responder who has carried the bodies of children, I would argue that divinity arrives at the site of the disaster with those that respond and those who survive. In their resilience, resolve, generosity and willingness to reach out to those suffering divinity is manifest.
For those who believe in the Gods there is no acceptable answer to the quandary of suffering. If we realize that divinity suffers, sheds tears and grives at our side in our response, than true compassion and willingness to sacrifice self is manifested and we begin to see divinity in the resulting actions of compassion. .
In my belief system, we are all parts of the grand dance that is divinity. Everything interconnected. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. Tragedy geographically removed is personal. If we all contain the spark of divinity it follows that what happens to one part of the body of divinity happens to us all.
Over the years I have seen responses to disaster that transcend what I would have ever thought possible. In Haiti convicts who escaped when the prison collapsed were re arrested while assisting in the search for survivors. Entire community’s suddenly become united in the face of disaster, concepts such as, race, politics, economic status and privilege suddenly collapse and humanity is united by their internal sparks of divinity.
So where are the Gods in the face if disaster? Inside humanity, contained in our collective desire to act as one, in the actions of teachers protecting their charges, in the funds donated to the effort, in the hearts of the first responders and in the incredible courage of those facing loss on an unimaginable scale.
Yes, there are the moments when disaster calls our thoughts to considering the very existence of the Gods. Such thoughts are soon washed away in witnessing the power of divinely manifested compassion and unity in the resulting response. These are the real “Acts of God(ess)”