It’s interesting what we humans do. We are born into a world that has some degree of predictability– the sun will rise in the morning and set at night, but a very large degree of randomness. If we look at our lives, we realize that very little is in our control. We cannot control the other driver- who may be talking on his cell phone or just not paying attention. We cannot control the illnesses that we are subject to. Oh yes, researchers work on treatments and cures, but aside from taking precautions not to do things that are dangerous to our health (smoking, excessive use of alcohol, tanning, eating large quantities of artery-clogging foods), we have very little control.

But we long for control. We long for predictability. We try to find reasons why others have hardships and heartaches and disabilities in order to protect ourselves from the realization that all of us are vulnerable. But when we are being rational, we know that the terror victim happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We understand that cancer began to grow in someone as a random occurrence. We comprehend that we are vulnerable.

We teach our children that this is an ordered universe- that if they behave nicely, good things will happen to them. And, we hope, we pray, this is true. We want so much to create for them a world without pain. And then the randomness of the universe once again shows itself.

Where is G-d in all of this? I wish I had an answer. I know that I cannot understand. I am not sure that humans are meant to understand. I have read more than once of life on earth as a tapestry. Just as a magnificent tapestry may have areas that are dark or bent or frayed, but when seen in the full context, they only add to the beauty, so we may see our lives. It’s a beautiful metaphor, but it doesn’t answer the question. Why can’t all of the people I love be part of the bright and beautiful part of the tapestry?

I think the answer to the lack of control is to take control of the part that we can. We CAN be kind to each other. We CAN help each other. We CAN value each other. We CAN provide the listening ear, the gentle touch, the warm embrace. We may not be able to control the world, but we can control how we act in it. And we have the ability to make it a better place.

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  1. what a smart and lovely thught!