It is a gorgeous morning in Minnesota, its beauty enhanced by the fact that most of its populace is still asleep. The cardinal is singing, the lawn and trees are a vibrant green from a week of rain a week ago, the sky is a deep blue, my coffee is the finest wine I've ever made and from my observation point -- the backyard deck -- I see that God has a wry sense of humor to give us such a glorious day on the darkest day for some people.
Bob Reha, a reporter for many years at Minnesota Public Radio died yesterday after a battle with leukemia that consumed not only him, but a large legion of my colleagues who did everything that music, food and silent auctions can accomplish in such cases. I did not know Bob very well. We'd occasionally exchange stories about the Cardinals -- the baseball kind -- on his rare trips to St. Paul, but that was about it.
Last night my wife's best friend called to say her mother has gone into hospice.
These are difficult times for the baby-boom generation, a generation that has never been anywhere near as gifted at handling difficult times. Our parents, and our friends, are passing on to another stop on their journey and we have never been particularly good travelers.
And God keeps giving us glorious mornings. Funny stuff.
I have wrestled over the years, like many others, on the meaning of faith -- not as practiced by the show-it-alls on Sunday morning, but by people like me. The un chosen; the people who haven't been absorbed by the religous groups who have intentionally hijacked good religion with bad politics.
I am not a regular church-goer. I am a believer. I have never felt that I needed church to have a relationship with God. Why do I need a middleman? If you believe the Bible, God gave us 10 simple directions. Church? It's a nice social occasion, but what don't you get about 10 simple directions?
At deaths, we mourn the living, it seems to me. We are unhappy because we don't get to walk with the departed anymore. There's nothing wrong with that, but if one is truly faithful, how does one feel anything but awe for a person who, in this case, spent a career seeking out stories, who yesterday got the biggest one of all -- the answer to what it all means?
I often wonder whether the sadness surrounding death is a rare peek into the doubt we have about the existence of God.
And yet the grass and trees are green, the cardinal is singing, the sky is a deep blue, there is a universal concept of time that applies to everything, and it is utterly illogical to conclude that it's all accidental.
6 months ago