Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I am a list maker. Back when I was a productive member of pre-retirement society and had an actual job, I had a forever-and-ever-never-ending “To Do” list on my desk. I’d check tasks off as soon as I’d get them done—and sometimes, if I did a task that wasn’t even on my list, I would write it down post-completion for the sheer pleasure of checking it off.

Since I’m still a list-driven person, I recently decided to start a new list. This is in addition to my daily To-Do list, my grocery list, my Target list, my bucket list, my list of books to read, etc. The new list will be “Things to Ask God When I Get a Chance.”

I’ve already decided on the first question I plan to ask Him.

Normally, on a Wednesday morning, my back yard looks like this:

It’s a lovely back yard that rolls gently into the Methodist Church parking lot. It’s always nicely mowed and trimmed. We couldn’t ask for nicer neighbors than the Methodists. I’m not sure what all the tenets of their church entail, but evidently they believe in keeping their church grounds neat and tidy. I think that says something inherently good about Methodist-ism. However, this morning, a typical summer Wednesday, my back yard looked like this:

A parking lot.

Today, the Methodists had a memorial service for a wonderful 61-year-old retired teacher and basketball coach who fought a losing battle with cancer. The church was full of neighbors, relatives, friends, fellow teachers, former students and team members. . . hundreds of people who came to pay their respects to his family.

Sometimes we were rolling on the floor, laughing at some of the stories friends and family shared about this unique man. And sometimes, we needed Kleenexes or handkerchiefs—or a surreptitious sleeve—to handle our emotions. There’s such a fine line between laughing and crying, and occasionally we were doing both at the same time.

So back to my list.

I’m no dummy; I realize that there may not be a “question and answer” period at the Pearly Gates. And I certainly don’t want to be disrespectful of the heavenly in-processing system. But just in case there is an opportunity, I’m starting my list of questions.

So here is Question Number 1 on my list for God:

If, on one hand, there are people praying in a heart-felt way to spare the life of a productive, younger man who is the rock of his family and community; and, on the other hand, a different group of people are praying in a heart-felt way to help an elderly man pass away quietly and with dignity—well, why does it go the opposite way?

I’m not questioning God's wisdom; I just want to understand something that seems so incredibly unfair as I’m looking at it from my lowly perch here on earth.


Anonymous said...

Oh thoughts exactly on a day like today and lots of other days. I think of my dear friend Pinkie Patrick who lost not only a daughter at the age of 18 and then a grandson who was about the same age. She was a rock to SOOOOO many people who still miss her (count me among one of them) and she always said that she was going to be asking a lot of questions when her time was up. And her time was up way too early. But then, she always added that she expected when that time arrived, the big picture would be clear. Guess we'll never know until it is our time. Grandma Nettie

Jenny @ said...

Oh Rachel how many times our family has asked ourself the same question. An even tougher question for so many families who have lost children. It is such a mystery.

And if you're speaking about the man I think you are, the world definitely lost a great man.

j9 said...

Hmmmm...that's quite a good question. I wish I knew a way to rationalize it all, but I think it's too complex for any of us to know, but isn't that why we call it faith? Faith that God is omnipresent in all things.