While deployed with SC-TF1 after Katrina, I struck up a conversation with an elderly man who told me he lost everything he owned. With little comfort to offer and myself wondering what the meaning in all this disaster was, I replied, “You know, it’s times like these when you’ve got to wonder, ‘What is God thinking? How could He let this happen?'” Without a pause, the gentleman explained, “If it hadn’t been for this storm, I never would have known so many people loved me. If it weren’t for this storm, I wouldn’t have met so many wonderful and giving people. What I lost, God has given back to me in love and friendship.”
It’s been a trying couple of months. While we are accustomed to dealing with the grief of others as a result of our job, the people I work with have seen more than their share of personal tragedy in a very short period of time. We lost a colleague who has been valiantly fighting cancer for several months and our beloved Communications Manager passed away a few weeks back with absolutely no warning. In between these incidents, we handled a near-drowning that involved another family member of our team; fortunately, that person is doing much better now. Many of the people I work with seem to be dealing with an abnormal number of family deaths very recently, to the point where we joke that it doesn’t pay to answer your phone these days.
It makes no sense sometimes what God wants for us, nor it is our place to question it. Being curious, and wanting to know, we test God’s plan by asking. I can’t figure out for the life of me what silver lining exists in this, but I am keeping open that there is one somewhere. Currently, however, I have to continue to push off my constant skepticism and believe I will see the result when the fog lifts.
Oddly, I have had pretty limited emotional response to these events. I don’t know if I’ve just learned to become more detached to these types of events over time, or if it’s just that none of it has really sunk in yet. While we will get through it and we will continue forward on our journey, it seems kind of quiet now and it seems a little lonely. It’s best described as if it’s one of those kids’ jigsaw puzzles: while the pieces are large and connect easily, if you are missing just one of the pieces, it seems like you are missing a third of the puzzle.
We will have to get through this and figure it out together. But that’s the good thing about our team; we are persistent, we are resilient, and we are committed. We will make it, but we are certainly fewer in the process. I guess we’ll learn one way or another how much He loves us, but I’m sure that will happen when and where He chooses. We need to continue to have faith and to believe.
“Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact; But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back.” – Bruce Springsteen, Atlantic City