Why?

3 08 2007

I have just finished a three episode-a-thon of The West Wing. In this series, Jed Bartlet, the President, loses his most trusted aide, Mrs Landingham, to a senseless accident, a cruel twist of fate. President Bartlett is going through his own tribulations at the time and the death of his private secretary peels away the veneer of calm he had been evincing.

He stands in the Cathedral, after her funeral service, and calls God a son-of-a-bitch, a cruel god; he says it isn’t fair, and look at all the good things I’ve done, and why did I deserve this? Why did she?

All I could think of was Moses, and the burning bush, and God saying, I AM, who I am. I am a jealous god.

I’m minded that we none of us can say that we’re immune; that we are all here by the grace of our Higher Power. Of course it’s not fair; to lose someone we love and value isn’t fair; but how are we to judge?

We cannot assume, even for a second, that we are favoured, that we are better than the next person. And yet I do it, day after day; snap judgements about people I see but don’t know.

Mrs Landingham reappeared to President Bartlet in a dream sequence to tell him that God doesn’t cause car crashes and that he should get his head out of his ass. Good call. However, I can’t help thinking that as worshippers we all sometimes feel that we are owed a softer ride by virtue of our observance; rightly or wrongly, this is not a dispensation given to any of us.

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