I love the Good News Stories that come from tragedy but there seem to be many more ugly stories of injustice (Michael Bennett is arrested for being black in Las Vegas), greed (John C. Martin becomes a billionaire by charging $1000/pill for the Hep C drug Sovaldi in 2014) and cruelty (the repeal of DACA.) Sometimes I wonder why God hasn’t lost all patience.
It’s bad theology to say that Hurricane Irma is punishment for the specific sins of Antiguans or Puerto Ricans or Floridians. God doesn’t work like that. Remember that time Jesus said:
“… he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45
My wonderment over why God doesn’t just zap us and be done with it ends quickly when I realize that we have been given an unprecedented opportunity not to be @&&*#!^s in these difficult days.
Here are my Top 10 suggestions for being human while so many of our neighbors are starving, drowning, burning, bleeding to death, or taking their own lives in utter despair:
- Take time to notice that not everybody’s lives are going as well as our own. Be attuned to those sitting at the next desk/seat on the train/table.
- Be late for that next meeting if it means helping a stranger in trouble. I love this story about the bus driver – risking his own job – who ensured a little girl wouldn’t be late for her first day of school.
- Be kind. Let the next driver through. Say thank you to the cashier.
- Send money to help victims of natural disasters. I like this one. Pick one you like.
- Don’t believe everything people say about other people. When you hear rumors (this is especially for you, Church People) ask questions. Challenge gossip.
- Expect the best of people. Maybe that person is distracted not because she is ditzy but because she just found out her mother is sick. Maybe he’s struggling at work not because he’s incompetent at his job but because he’s worried about his son’s addiction.
- Do not make assumptions based on age, skin color, accent, gender, educational level, or dress. Come on, people!
- Stop for a few moments every couple of hours and breathe deeply. The world doesn’t spin on our axis.
- Thank God (or whatever you believe in) that you and your loved ones are alive. Some of us know that life can end in an instant.
- Consider at least one piece of art every single day. It might be a flower. It might be a goldfish. It might be a public sculpture in your town. It might be your beloved’s face. Stare at it and suck in that beauty.
Please be a human being today. It’s why we exist.
Image of Mattress Mack McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston. He used his showrooms to shelter victims of Hurricane Harvey in the past weeks and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.