We have a tendency, an impolite tendency which we usually squelch in time, to distance ourselves when we hear of misfortune striking someone. We hear that someone got mugged, and we want to ask “Well, what part of town was he in?” Ready to distance ourselves: “I never go to that part of town.”
We hear that someone got sick, and we want to ask, “She smokes, doesn’t she? She never does exercise or watch what she eats . . .” to distance ourselves, to protect ourselves from the thought that that could happen to us.
But it could all happen to us. We are mortal, subject to all injuries.
We hear that a father took his family from where they are not safe to where they are not wanted. On that trip, the boat capsized, and he tried to hold onto his three-year-old son in the pounding surf. Washed on shore, he discovered what must be the worst thing for a father ever to discover.
And we distance ourselves. That happened far away. The father is not one of our people. Our people have generally not faced situations like that in almost seventy years.
But we are not a different species from that man.
Perhaps the world divides into the perpetrators and their allies, the victims, and those who try to help. Let us pray God that we not be the victims. And let us make awfully sure that we are not the perpetrators, or their allies.
And let us dedicate ourselves to being those who try to help.