Friday, November 04, 2005


That’s how many people have died as a result of a quake a few weeks ago in Pakistan. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

As the radio newscast went on tonight to describe the seemingly insurmountable needs of the victims, I thought of exponential weakness, how I don’t give even $5 sometimes even though I could, and how that $5 multiplies every time I don’t do the right thing with it. I thought about how the world is so full of resources, yet so chaotic and disheveled, we can’t get the most needful things to the right places.

The representative of a large relief organization talked about how this has been a bad year, which is part of the reason for the so called donor fatigue. I gave something for the tsunami victims. I can’t remember how much. Apparently it didn’t hurt very much. I gave something for the hurricane relief in Louisiana; bought a friends’ CD at a benefit concert. In all honesty, perhaps it was more to my benefit than that of the hurricane victims, homeless, trying to build new lives. I give to Compassion, but my heart is sometimes elsewhere…

Tonight, after hearing that newscast, I walked the aisles of the grocery store trying to piece together why some of the things I was buying seemed to be so necessary. I thought of the homeless Pakistanis getting ready to face a Himalayan winter in, if they’re lucky, a tent or a poorly repaired shelter. I thought of millions of children worldwide starving, while I decided whether I wanted Cornpops or Crispix. I thought of the tsunami victims whose lives were swept away as I picked out my lowfat yoghurt.

Something is terribly wrong with this. That’s all I can say and feel right now. I almost didn’t write this blog because when I switched on the tv the Lakers were playing—it pacified me.

Something is horribly wrong with this.

We are such broken cisterns,

The water You’ve filled us with,

Drip, drip, dripping,

Down the drains of our appetites and whims,

No sorrow all the while for parched throats

And dusty feet in the desert far across the sea,

So far, yet so near,

Next door, in fact.

The hungry kid shivers in front of African night firelight,

While I videogame street fight, not quite thinking,

Or even seeing the sleight of devil’s hand,

In one land, or another,

Crazy politicians and their mindgames,

Crazy patricians and their money and fame,

Crazy militia men, madness or glory their aim;

But I find my sick soul sucking it in like honey,

Until you purge me with your Sorrow;

Purge me, All Knower,

Make me live…


Perhaps broken wells can still hold water.

The world is so full. People, throngs of people, on every continent, brushing up against each other, breathing earth’s air, carrying things back and forth like ants busily rushing in and out of our anthill domiciles. So many things, myriads of manufactured goods, boxes of grain, greenery, groceries, books, crates of cars, barrels of liquor, drums of oil, floods of water, molecules multiplying to overrun it all, plant life thrumming with photosynthetic energy, slicing through thick earth’s crust like a chaotic shell of creation once ordered, now wild and uncontrollable.
We live in all this, seemingly unaware the whole while of the pandemonium that surrounds us. The honking of horns, the bleating of sheep, the crying of babies, the shushing of the wind in tree branches as they crackle with excitement.
It must all be saying something. What, I wonder? When I lay my weary head upon my cotton puffed pillow, pull the blanket up to my chin, and the silent air hovers above my sleepy frame, as I drift off to another world, I listen to what whispers outside my window, a subtle lullaby of place and time, the chef salad bowl of life on earth getting tossed and dressed in seasoned madness and splendor. Imperceptibly, I hear it—the word on a page of God’s imagination, as the page turns, and I float off to my dreams before the crashing in of another day.