How people face tragedy says so much about how they were raised and taught what faith means and how to practice it. Take for example these comments after recent deaths:
“The prayers of the entire County Sheriff’s Office are with this family and I hope that people will respect their need for privacy as they deal with this tragedy,” [County Sheriff]
And a person who lost their parents in a tornado said,
“Two beautiful souls gained their angel wings last night during the tornadoes … The Lord let them go to sleep in their bed and wake in His presence.”
A radio host at a major university ended an interview with a coach who lost a player to gun violence:
“I’ll be praying for you all.”
I understand. People want to say something; they need to use words, even when words are almost meaningless. But I often wonder, what would someone pray in these situations, in the face of a disaster or tragic death?
I used to pray something like, “Lord, be with them” or “God, please comfort them.” Essentially pleading that the Almighty Creator of the Universe would pay attention and get involved. Or, was it a way for me to admit I felt powerless and couldn’t do a thing about what happened, or make any sense of it? Maybe, to be honest, what I really meant in those prayers was, “God, I’m scared; please be with me; please comfort me.” Was I being selfish, or just a humiliated human feeling like a small child crying to my Parent?
A “tragedy” is “an event causing great suffering and distress.” Tragic things indeed make us feel intensely vulnerable in our fragile humanity. We’re at a loss for words. But we can’t help ourselves (literally), so we say that we’ll pray … though honest people wouldn’t have any words to say, even to a deity, would they?
Would it be best to simply sit and sigh, or cry and wonder why?
The word “tragedy” comes from two Greek words for “goat” and “song.” Anyone know if that’s based in a specific Greek Tragedy?