There is an answer to ‘why,’ right?
When you’re from a small rural county, you don’t expect to see CNN news trucks roll into town. Unless, of course, something bad has happened.
I grew up just a few miles down the road from Harrisburg. I moved away years ago, so for the past 24-plus hours, I’ve had the surreal experience of watching – from a distance – national media figures do live stand-ups in front of streets I’ve driven down thousands of times.
Truth be told, a more accurate portrayal of the total destruction is being played out on the Facebook pages of friends who live there. One poignant photo that’s being posted and reposted is from nearby Ridgway, which also took the brunt of the tornado. It’s an image of the town’s Catholic church, almost entirely demolished, save for the altar. Comments attached to the picture unanimously cite this as proof that “God is still in control,” because God kept the altar intact. They compare it to the Ground Zero cross, or the crucifix that stands amongst the rubble in Haiti.
And I struggle with the thought that one could overlook the loss of life and personal property and praise God for saving a church altar. Ultimately, a pile of stone.
I know I will always have a ways to go on my faith journey, but my recurring stumbling block is tragedy. (Needless to say, the story of Job isn’t one of my favorites.) It’s very hard for me to imagine myself crawling from the wreckage of my home, maybe learning neighbors have perished, knowing life will never be the same, and not heaving an angry and bewildered “Why??” at the sky.
I hope one day to know the answer to that question, but it sure would be nice if no one had to ask it at all.