Thursday, July 07, 2005


I've been on one of those double-decker buses. I've used the London Underground, and gotten off at King's Cross Station. I've walked the streets where the people were being treated for their injuries.

Maybe that's what makes the images on the television this morning so painful, so personal. Having visited London only once, yet falling in love with it so deeply, I feel violated, I feel wounded, I feel attacked.

Was the worker at the British Museum who was so helpful in answering my questions riding the underground at the moment of the explosion? Was the waitress at the pub where we had lunch on the bus? Were any of the people I know personally over there injured, or worse?

So many questions.

Of course, inevitably the question will be asked: "Where was God in all this?" People will ask us, because we are believers. And even though we are believers, we will ask it as well. "Where were you, God?"

The late Fred Rogers, Presbyterian minister and creator of the marvelous children's show,"Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," here in the States, knew that children who witnessed such scenes as we see today, were especially frightened because they could not always comprehend what they were seeing. So he always told them to look for the helpers. That when people are hurt, when scary things happen, helpers are always around.

That's what I noticed this morning: the yellow-jacketed police, doing their jobs with heavy hearts; the London Ambulance people, professionally caring for people while nursing their own personal grief; the bystanders who rushed to give aid to their neighbors, even as terror ran along beside them.

Where was God? God was the young paramedic visiting from New Jersey, who helped to give triage to the injured. God was the doctor, who instinctively knew which patients needed her care the most. God was the aid worker handing out blankets to the less-injured. God was the stranger gently wiping the blood off the face of another stranger.

Whenever something happens that frightens us, that we cannot begin to comprehend, we should always look for the helpers, because that is where we will find God.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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