Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Saturday, May 25, 2013

You Know What They Say About Assumptions!

[This was supposed to be my Friday post but I didn't get around to finishing it off until today.]

I'm sure that everyone has seen quite enough footage of the devastation left after that nasty F5 tornado went through Moore, Oklahoma on Monday afternoon.  I wonder if most of you have seen this footage, however.  It is CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewing a woman who survived the tornado - along with her husband and small child.  Take a look at the clip, if you haven't seen it.

First off, I have to say that I totally understand that after speaking to person after person in deeply religious Oklahoma, Wolf Blitzer had probably heard tons of them stating that they thank the Lord that they survived. It probably seemed rather safe to ask anyone the question he asked this woman, "Do you thank the Lord?".  Still, I'm not sure it was fair of him to make that assumption.  We know that not everyone holds the same beliefs and in this case he guessed wrong.  Not only did he embarrass the woman he was interviewing but he was embarrassed himself when he realized the situation.  Talk about awkward!  They both recovered quickly and finished the interview but perhaps this points out why we should be careful not to make assumptions about the beliefs of people we don't know.

One thing does bother me is the entire idea of thanking the lord - or any deity, really - when you survive something like this especially when others were not so lucky.  This bothered me a little when I was a believer, too, but I think it disturbs me a bit more now that I'm not.  Let's think a bit more in depth about this.

If you are thanking God for intervening, then you are acknowledging that you believe that God can choose to do that.  In the same breath, you are also saying that, though he chose to intervene to save you, he chose not to save the children in the school who didn't make it or the other people who died.  Aren't you?

So, alright.  I was a believer once.  I know the drill.  We say that, "God needed another angel" or  that "His ways are not our ways and we cannot know his purpose" or even "It wasn't your time so he didn't take you" and so forth.  I would think those thoughts are small consolation to the parents of the children who died before they had much of a chance to live.  I feel the need to point out that they would be no consolation at all to the non-believer.

Perhaps we should be careful not to make the same mistake Wolf Blitzer did.  If you want to console a person who has lost a loved one, it might be best just to say, "I'm sorry for your loss" unless you know for sure what their beliefs are. I think this is just common sense but not everyone has really thought about it.  I think we should try to be as considerate as possible, however, when people are dealing with grief and loss.

That's just my two cents, though.  What are your thoughts?

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