Monday, January 3, 2004

It broke the solemnity and peace of Christmas in an instant. It quickly erupted from deep below the ocean and the shift of mass toward the Earth's center caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or one millionth of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.

It roared past the silence of the Christmas season and registered 9.2 on the Richter scale... and as quick as it erupted, it was gone. But not before triggering some of the deadliest waves and flooding in a dozen countries, from Thailand to East Africa. At the writing of this reflection, the death toll sits at over 125,000, with over half of those deaths were reported in Indonesia, the nearest land mass to last Sunday's undersea earthquake. Mass graves have begun for the bodies discovered and where graves are not possible, pyres have been created to burn the remains of hundreds and thousands of bodies; bodies that once teemed with untold human potential and life...

Utterly horrific and unfathomable. It is only these four words that I have been able to come up with in an attempt to capture the images I have been witnessing on the national networks. Unprepared for and unknowing of what was about to occur, many persons in the region were just waking up to a Sunday morning of church services. And in a few short moments, their dreams and future - and life - were quickly swept away in the power tsunami that followed the massive earthquake.

As new images of the devastation and heartache continue to be transmitted across the world, it almost leaves a person's soul empty of hope. Utterly horrific and unfathomable must be the pain felt by so many families and loved ones. Utterly horrific and unfathomable must the loss felt by so many who lost their young children and elderly in the tidal waves that crashed across these dozen countries. It literally leaves a world numb from shock and horror at the disaster that occurred and the impending disease that will take so many more lives in the coming weeks and months. It is unimaginable the sense of hopelessness and despair that must exist from this day forward for our fellow humans in this region. A journey beyond hope.

But I know in my heart of hearts that there remains one consolation; only one force in this universe that could possibly begin to counteract this tragic crisis. It is the utterly terrific and unfathomable love of God. It is a height of hope that can only match and surpass the depth of despair felt at this moment. It is a force, a feeling, a drive that courses through each of our being and connects us with one another, whether we are separated by miles or cultural backgrounds. It is this love that causes us to initially ask the question, "What could I possibly do?" and then mysteriously moves us to get up and act.

Is this horrible event an "act of God?" Absolutely not. But it is our response in the aftermath that becomes the true measure of an "act of God."

There are numerous credible groups on the CNN website toward which to donate any funds that you might have available at this time - many which will allow you to earmark your funds toward this specific disaster relief. Should you wish to donate, refer to the following webpage on the CNN website:



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