There is a large part of me that wants life to be clean, orderly, on time, optimistic, and full of real opportunity. Nothing bad happens in this space. There is no pain when one is here. Everything occurs for a purpose. The goal is always the common good. If one reads the major newspaper in Singapore, one might believe that this community is close to the ideal world in our dream. If you look at the evidence around you, clean streets, orderly bus services, predictable experiences with government agencies, and the optimism in many conversations, it is easy to slip into the imaginary. Yet, there is a dark side that haunts even the most idealistic place one might find today.
When I read the words that “no sooner were the words out of his mouth than she also fell down, dead. When the young men returned they found her body. They carried her out and buried her beside her husband.” (Acts 5.10) I find myself being reminded that bad stuff happens to everyone regardless of his or her level of happiness, comfort, power, status, or even wealth. Bad stuff touches each without regard. Pain reaches out to all, carelessly, callously, and with an absolute absence of discrimination.
In a community that prides itself on hope, optimism, and opportunity, people are exploited, abused, and used. It may be rare, but there is undercurrent of human tragedy that haunts the lives of far individuals and families than one might imagine. Far too often, I find myself like others generalizing the impact on others so that I do not personally feel the pain. The logic goes like this; if I can numb the impact I feel with others are touched by the dark side, then I should be able to do it to my soul as well.
Candidly, this imaginary world does not currently exist. We live in a world filled with tragedy, haunted by human weaknesses, and touched by Evil. Embracing this reality does not cause bad things to happen. Embracing gives each an opportunity to heal.
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