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After the Storm

After the firestorm of bullets a nine-year-old girl is dead.  Much ink will be spilled about the blood that was spilled.  Pundits and politicians will lay blame at the feet of their opponents.  The NRA will defend the right of mentally unbalanced individuals to bear arms.  Nothing much will change.
This may very well be the most depressing thought of my day. From time immemorial, human beings have made an awful mess of the world that God gave us to inhabit.  We have repeatedly failed to achieve our potential to be our best selves. Instead of selflessly tilling and tending the paradise in which we live, we destroy the garden until it becomes hell on earth.
In one biblical story, it is the words of a woman that precipitates the fall from grace. To see the modern parallel, one must turn to cached pages on the internet, for the woman has learned after several thousand years to eradicate the evidence of her misdeed. Will there be ramifications of her having put such a negative energy into the world?  Or will nothing much change after the detritus of the storm is cleared away and we attempt a return to normalcy?

For solace, I turn not to the biblical story itself but to its interpretation by an artist, Jheronimus Bosch, who depicted the aftermath of the storm using oil paints and his fertile imagination. In his painting of the world after the flood, we see the human beings who have survived the storm attempting to inhabit the earth once more.  They are stranded in a boat which teeters on the precipice. They have not yet recovered their balance, but soon they will stand firmly again on the land.  They are poised to do better this time, to fulfill God’s promise to return to Eden.  It is in this moment– after the storm– that anything is possible.

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