Last weekend Jim and I drove to Joplin, MO, where my sister and brother-in-law live. The tornadoes that ripped through a month ago did not touch their neighborhood, but they took us on the tornado tour, and, honestly, entire areas look like war zones and worse. Death count 150-something (a few people have died in the hospital of their injuries even recently). The miracle is that every human being has been accounted for--dead or still around. I was sure some would simply be missing until farmers came upon decayed body parts out in the fields months from now.
At such times, we are tempted to ask "why God would allow this to happen." But a friend of mine, author and spiritual director Margaret Silf, points out that the earth itself is a living organism, and without earthquakes, tsunamis, and other "natural disasters" this globe would be inert and not alive. Each catastrophe leads ultimately to the next thing, proceeding from life to life.
When we consider that most of our personal growth happens mainly in difficult times, then perhaps we should try to see the larger trials as the chaos moving us forward. Of course this is easy for me to say--I still have my loved ones and my house. But perhaps, as St. Ignatius would put it, the times of consolation are the best times to practice internally for desolation.
Peace to you all. I shall try to post more often this summer.