Yesterday was our last long beach day before the start of school. As I watched my achingly beautiful children playing in the waves and building sandcastles, I couldn’t help but think about how utterly charmed their lives are (with the exception of having a neurotic and incompetent mother, whose genetic endowment to them will likely result in eyebrows, noses, and thighs that fail to meet the highest aesthetic standards). And of course, because of them, my life is also blessed beyond all reasonable hope. This unnerves me; it is so clear to me that these blessings are bestowed without my meriting them that I don’t even know how to be properly grateful.
The background of my brooding, of course, was the news from Beslan, where hundreds of parents spent the day waiting, praying, hoping, and then, horrifyingly, identifying the maimed and burned bodies of their children–children who were loved like mine, whose parents surely deserved God’s favor as much or as little as I do.
I can often, from the comfort of my reading chair, appreciate the doctrine of free agency, and find reason to worship a God who values it so highly that he will not interfere. I can even love the idea, at least, of “The Weeping God of Mormonism” (Gene England, Dialogue Spring 2002).
But not today. I would prefer a God whose justice and mercy are more recognizable to my puny human mind.