iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Lisa Kaas Boyle

Lisa Kaas Boyle

Posted: March 21, 2011 08:00 PM

Good God! Finding Light in the Wake of the Japanese Tsunami


The tragic remains of the Japanese coastal towns devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami seem to offer themselves up to augurs for reading, like tea leaves at the bottom of a cup once the liquid is drained. Some see a vengeful God, punishing mankind for various sins. Others see the hubris of man believing that he can build nuclear reactors to withstand nature, the ultimate big bad wolf. I believe these readings are much like a Rorschach test of the reader's psyche. We see in these remains reflections of our deepest hopes and fears about existence and the meaning of life. What do you see?

Where some might look to heaven for an explanation of the tragedy, I believe such questioning distracts us from unquestionably powerful lessons being taught here on earth. Yes, nature is unpredictable and more powerful than our attempts to conquer it, but where some see a vengeful god, I see powerful good. I see evidence of powerful good in the brave humans who risked their own lives to save another during these darkest hours. I see powerful good in the outpouring of compassion and assistance from people all around the globe. I see powerful good in the video recording of a dog that would not abandon an injured companion left in the debris. What does that dog have that the crashing waves and thundering earth do not? Compassion, empathy, concern for the other, love, even when it is not advantageous to one's own survival, is powerful good.

What is the source of this good that can shine even in the darkest hours? Is it an evolved trait for survival of the species? Is it a gift from a creator? We can debate this for eternity, but I find that adding another "o" to our word "God" satisfies my need to describe the selfless love that a living creature can display for another. The light of good that we each hold can truly brighten the world, and in finding our capacity for good, I believe we find our life's purpose.