The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Margin of Error

Oregon is God's country. I've traveled all over America and a little bit in Europe, and I've yet to find a place more beautiful. It's ironic that a place so definitively created by the Divine has the fewest believers in their creator. Portland is a hub of sorts for those with enlightened self interests. Old hippies who put on business suits but clung to their "me" generation call this neck of the woods home. That explains our culture of death. In the womb or nearing the tomb one's life is at risk with Oregon's liberal abortion laws and doctor assisted suicide.

It's been pensive around here for the last week or so as we have witnessed the physical prowess of The Almighty. We had a big wind storm blow through last Thursday that knocked out power to more than a million homes. Fortunately, our apartment only lost power for a few hours. Others are still waiting for the lights to come back on. In the midst of the bad weather, many have taken more than a passing interest in the fate of three mountain climbers who lost their way up on Mt. Hood more than a week ago. As mountains go, Mt. Hood is respectable and perhaps a little deceptive. Rising from the valley floor to a height of 11,249 feet it's just over a third of the size of Mt. Everest. In the winter many climbing enthusiasts use its slopes as a training ground to prepare for more formidable climbs.

While Hood is a smaller peak, it's still a mountain. It belongs to God. One doesn't conquer it. A simple mistep can lead to death in an instant. On any of the Cascade Mountains, one operates with little margin for error. The mountain doesn't forgive, nor does it care. It's a mountain. It has no feelings good or bad. It simply exists as a reminder of God's glory.

Yesterday, we learned the fate of one of the climbers. He died in a snow cave about 300 feet from Mt. Hood's peak. Early reports indicate he broke his arm, though death was likely from exposure to the sub-zero temperatures. I have empathy for this man. This last summer, I got my own lesson in how quickly one can get into trouble in God's playground when I slipped on a rock while fishing the Wilson River and broke a rib. There's a unique kind of fear being alone and hurt in the wilderness. My margin of error was a lot broader than the mountain climber's. While I was alone, the river where I fish is popular. Had I been disabled, eventually someone would have stumbled upon me. Also it was summer, so there was no risk of hypothermia. Still, I remember very vividly those first few moments of fear, and I can only imagine how much worse the hours, perhaps days of fear this man experienced, alone and dying with no hope of rescue. I pray that God gave him some kind of peace.

The news of these climbers' tragedy comes on the heels of the family that lost their way on a remote mountain road and got stuck in the snow just outside of Grants Pass. Mom kept the kids (7 months and 3 years old) alive by breast feeding them. Eventually she and the kids were saved. Dad set off for help, but made some bad choices and ended up dying of exposure. Both gave of themselves to save their little ones. The sacrifice of the cross. Still, it's been a tough winter.

It's easy to have one's faith tested in times like these. "Why?" That is the question family and friends will likely ask God over the holidays and beyond. None of these people deserved to die. There' s no easy answer to give someone at a time like this. I do believe God has a plan. Perhaps the death of these few will save many from making similar misteps in the future. Perhaps God was giving us a lesson in free will as none of these people had to take the risks they took.

I do know that God is love, even in these circumstances. It will be love that pulls the families through the rough days and years ahead. It will be love that brings them peace. And it is His love and mercy that gives us hope that these unfortunate souls now rest in His care for eternity.

Still, it's been a tough winter.


Post a Comment

<< Home