Last week I blogged on the widespread kindness I am finding in the world. I focused on specifically on the way the sports and school systems in Springfield, Oregon have gathered around my visually impaired grandson, allowing him to do things like successfully run on the cross-country track team. All of that is still true.
But I need to revisit the theme because Reilly ran in his second race this week, and it didn’t turn out so well. He ran into a pole.
Apparently the race began late and the coaches released more kids than usual onto the track at the same time. The first part of the trail followed a city sidewalk, until it veered off into a more rural path. It happened on this sidewalk, complete with telephone poles. The crowding of so many kids, the narrowness of the sidewalk—who knows why, but it all threw Reilly a little off. Even though he was looking straight ahead, and even though the accompanying runner was right there, he ran full force into the pole. He’s fast, and those around him watched with horror as he hit, bounced back and crumpled to the ground.
He rallied quickly, but felt dizzy and disoriented. He was taken to the hospital and then kept home the next day to watch for signs of concussion. He didn’t have one. Young bodies are resilient, and Reilly finished the week back in school. Next week he plans on racing again.
But this has served as another wake-up call. Reilly behaves so normally that we frequently forget the extent of his impairment. Even he forgets, which is good. But it can be dangerous, too.
It’s made me wonder if I might have been a bit glib in my last post about God’s grace and kindness permeating the world. I could even be tempted to blame God for letting this happen, or to blame myself for not praying enough. And of course I could blame the system—the very system that I saw last week as demonstrating the ubiquity of kindness—for letting Reilly down.
I could do all of that, but I’ve chosen not to. I will continue to affirm the power and pervasiveness of God’s grace. But I need to put it in the context of this imperfect world, where accidents happen, kids go blind, and millions of refugees wander Europe in desperation. I need to ask, with tears, “Where is God’s kindness in all of this?” I need to admit that I don’t know.
But I need to keep asking. Keep affirming. And keep praying, even offering my life as part of the answer.
So next week my prayers for God’s manifest kindness and grace will accompany Reilly around the curves of that cross-country trail. I will dare to prayer for the refugees across Europe. I will dare to ask how I can be involved.
And I will continue to affirm the ubiquitous kindness of an all-seeing, loving and powerful God.