|Backyard at sunrise-photo by Libby Fife|
My husband and I were recently talking about the visit to the United States by Pope Francis. It was uncharacteristic of my husband to ask me this question but he wanted to know what I would say to the Pope if I was to meet him. It was easy to come up with something that I would like to know: why do both good and bad things happen? If all things come from God then how does tragedy befall the innocent while the wicked seem to escape unharmed? What kind of God sets that sort of stuff in motion? Or does he even do that? Why does he allow it to happen? Or is that even the case?
While I am not the first to ask this question, and I certainly won't be the last, I do have the beginnings of an answer. Or at least a word to describe the coexistence of two seemingly opposite conditions or events. The word is "paradox" and I recently ran across two examples of how the word can be used to describe God's given condition of both good and bad existing at the same time. Others write much better than I do and so I am providing two links to two separate articles.
Sharon Salzberg: It All Happens and Nothing Lasts
Parker Palmer: Autumn: a Season of Paradox
I enjoy the writing of both of these authors and so if you have time and have questions like I do, these essays are worth the read. The articles don't answer the question of why or even provide relief from the idea that bad things happen to good people, but they do provide a framework for understanding and accepting that both the good and the bad happen together. You can't have one without the other. And all good things got to come to an end (to quote Jackson Browne!) and that it can be OK.