Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Life, giving and tragedy

An incredible, haunting, unsettling story from the Chicago Tribune today. Near Chesterton, Indiana, a 10 year old child fell into a surging river and was pulled into a metal drainage ditch (about 3 feet in diameter). His next door neighbor, Mark Thanos, a high school teacher and coach, jumped in to try to save him. After Mark began struggling, his father John jumped in to help.

In the event, the ten year old was pulled clear by the current, but the other two men died. The entire story is here.

In this one event, the selfless giving of one to save another costs him his life, and the selfless act of another seems to have been in vain. My thinking is not resolved on this - as I mentioned above, I find this haunting - but I think haunting is one of the things the Spirit does, so I'm not worried, just not through.

I think one intuition about this is that, in God, this is not lost. Yes, it can be allowed to be tragic - this is no eschatological quick fix to make everything alright - but maybe not finally or ultimately tragic.

Something else is that in these selfless but tragic acts, two families' lives, and the lives of three people not normally or necessarily connected, are now inextricably intertwined for the rest of their lives. Looked at in one way, how can the young boy who survived now live knowing what these other men gave him without his asking? How can that not haunt him every day?

Looked at in another way, how is this different - except perhaps in degree - from the whole of life as each of us knows it? And how can we be so blythe and dismissive?

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Blogger marcia said...

Thanks for this angle of view, Jason. It made me cry in several ways...
Love, Marcia

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 7:17:00 PM  

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