Saturday, September 11, 2010

Some Thoughts on Suffering. . . .

It's an interesting day here in Boulder County. . . .The fires seem to be getting under control, folks are remembering 9/11, and my buddy just had his car backed into by a stranger (who took the time to ring the doorbell and let them know what happened, exchange numbers. . .etc).

What do all of these have in common? In America. . . . . these are all ways folks have "suffered" recently, in various degrees, of course.

I remember 9/11 well. I was living in New Jersey. . I remember watching the Today show, (which I rarely do) that morning for some reason. Providence was crawling around as a 14-month-old, and Jody was sleeping. Matt Lauer got cut off during an interview about drapes/food or something, they went to commercial, and when they returned they showed the first tower on fire. While we were watching, the 2nd tower was hit. It was a chilling day to be alive and watching t.v.

I remember the bombers flying around overhead that day, as they secured the airspace over the tri-state area. I remember the smell some 3 weeks later, as I was up in North Jersey. I remember the terribly sad stories of folks who lost their loved ones.

This, to me, was one of the true "suffering" moments in our nation recently. See, we spend so much money on insurance and failsafe backups, etc. . . That when we "lose" most things these days, they get replaced.

In the Boulder fires, many folks lost precious things that can't be replaced, of course. That's tough to handle. But, from our fire last year, and others I've spoken to. . . in some ways it's a freeing thing to be able to "start over", get to re-decorate, get to stay in a nice hotel for a while, get to eat out. You miss home, of course. But, the "suffering" is not devastating.

That brings me to my buddy. We were discussing his car last night, and he had a good quote, he said that "suffering" like this is annoying, but not devastating.

That's a pretty good description, I would say. We spend so much money insuring ourselves that tragedies won't be devastating. This is such a huge privilege in our country. In Ethiopia, if the Boulder fires happen, a bunch of people are homeless, without food, and without any recourse to reclaim the stuff of their lives.

On 9/11 none of that mattered. We saw that true loss is losing those closest to us, . . and losing our sense of security that we spend so much money to ensure. I'm grateful to live in a country where we can maintain a certain level of security, but it was a helpful correction on that terrible day to remember that nothing is guaranteed, and not everything can be bought.

To those who are in the midst of putting their lives back together in Boulder, I pray God's peace for you, and logistical ease in navigating the "annoying" process of dealing with adjusters, and various entities. I pray you find peace dealing with the things that you cannot replace. I also hope we find a level of gratitude that we live in a place like this where we can replace alot of stuff.

As we remember 9/11, let's be grateful for where we live, but remember that there are no guarantees, and live courageously and adventurously as we remember:

Psalm 118:6-7 (New International Version)

6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies.

And to my buddy who got his car dinged. . . I'm glad insurance is doing what they were paid to do. Enjoy the new body job on your car.

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