guest contributor

David Parrish

Tragedy, the type we are currently experiencing, while absolutely awful, deeply concerning, and in many ways catastrophic, has another side to its coin.

In these times of gross materialism and selfishness, catastrophes bring us back to the awareness of our fundamental shared humanity. While we are being tested in such a fashion, we exhibit either the best or the worst of ourselves. Our true character has an opportunity to shine forth. We either rise to the clarion call to be of assistance to our fellow man whether or not we know him, or we worry only about ourselves.

We are in a unique predicament in that staying to ourselves may be the very thing that helps others as well as the situation at large. In our world of easy global communication, we are poised as never before to be able to reach outside of our homes and touch the lives of others from within the safety of our own homes.

I recently saw a video clip that came from Italy, where people are living in lockdown. The camera view was over the shoulder of a man who had stepped out onto his balcony, which was maybe eight or ten stories high. He had taken an electric piano and amplifier out onto the balcony and he began to play the most beautiful song. I don’t know what song he was playing but that’s beside the point. Soon after, another man appeared on a balcony the next building over, and he played his saxophone in perfect harmony with the piano. People all over began to appear on their balconies and some of them joined in by singing. In a very short time, the balconies were full of people listening to and singing along with the beautiful song. The clip was short. Too short. I would have liked to see more because it touched my heart. Many of these people had probably never even said hi to one another, and yet here they were, sharing a moment in perfect harmony of song and spirit.

I have to ask the question: Why does it take tragedy and hard times to bring this out in people?

My studies into the mystery of things had taught me that all things happen in cycles. What we are experiencing is one of these cycles. We will prevail. We always do. But it is important to know that we are in an arms race with nature. It is a fundamental law that growth and evolution is always met with resistance. There is another fundamental law known as cause and effect or, as some understand it, karma. But there is widespread misunderstanding regarding karma. Karma is not the reckoning of a wrong. I like the more scientific explanation that as a law of nature, karma represents the law of balance. The law of balance explains why the string of an instrument seeks to cease vibrating, or the clock’s pendulum when pulled in one direction goes immediately to the other, and back and forth, back and forth, until the pendulum arrives once again at the middle point. The cycles of nature are much like the pendulum. We have pulled nature out of balance individually and collectively, and the immutable laws of nature force it to seek its middle point. The sooner we begin to understand the laws of nature and work with them instead of always seeking to conquer them, the better off we will be. The more we fight against these laws, the more calamities we should expect to experience.

This brings us to ask another question: The question of “theodicy” or the defense of God’s goodness in the face of evil. God is a just God, and his nature is dual. There is love in justice. I ask you only to watch and listen as we go through these trying times. Look into your own heart and the hearts of others and see if you don’t recognize the love and compassion of God bursting forth.

The key to all of this is that when we finally return to a more normal life, try and hold onto those feelings of love, concern, and compassion for your fellow man—during the good times as well as during times of tragedy.

Be well and may God bless you with health and goodwill!

-David W. Parrish