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Perspectives: Finding the best in the worst of times


“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:20

This week, I have been thinking and praying for those touched by the tragedy in Las Vegas.

It seems we are all affected in some way because a public tragedy, as we watch it unfold on TV, reminds us of our vulnerability, the brevity of life and our own past losses. “Never forget” is what rings in our thoughts. Never forget …

It is often said we can forgive, but ought not forget. We must not lose our focus on compassion and being there for each other. Like the first responders, we run into the fray with prayer and sympathy.

“Thoughts and prayers” is not a platitude: It is the deep mindfulness of another’s situation and their well-being when we cannot be there to hold them, cry with them and wipe away the tears. This is the way we, as human beings, express our connection and relationship with each other and with God. It changes our view of what is really important in life — how we find the best of ourselves in the worst of times. We easily can be taken over by cynicism and numbness. Then again, we can choose to go toward compassion and look for those holy moments. We can walk into the fray of our anger and doubts, choosing the Most Excellent Way – the way shown by Jesus Christ.

Last week, I walked along the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. Like many families, mine felt the ripple effect. Some saw the buildings collapse from their windows at work. Then they lived through the aftermath in a fearful city. I had been at the top of the WTC tower a few years before and imagined the scene in my mind’s eye. I returned in 2003 and surveyed the gaping hole.

And so, I set my eyes on what the nation had yearned for: two pools of eternal waterfalls and names of the fallen imprinted on the perimeter. The pools are each about an acre in size and are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. And the people — visitors from all over the world — taking photos so they would never forget.

Once again, we think and pray and place a public tragedy in our memories. This is what we are tasked to do. This is what our God asks of us — finding the best of ourselves in the worst of times.

So today, as I recall the events of the last few months, I do keep those affected by tragedy in my thoughts and prayers. As St. Paul tells us: “I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16

Margie Adams is staff chaplain at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center


Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.