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entrepreneur-livingLet’s be honest. The last ten days sucked. The unexpected deaths of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana were absurdly connected to the deaths of five Dallas police officers. Combine those tragedies with deaths in Nice, France, everyone should acknowledge the internal wake up call that we know, but rarely acknowledge, our demise can occur at a moment’s notice.

It’s strange how life’s last moments seem unremarkable. The New York Times reported Philando Castile of Minnesota finished getting his hair styled, called his sister Allysza, and offered to deliver dinner to the suburban house she shares with their mother. Over a meal of Taco Bell takeout, the two alternated between laughter and serious discussions, including about the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by the police in Louisiana. He never returned home.

The five murdered Dallas officers were spouses and parents. They volunteered in schools and church and swore to serve and protect. One officer gave a homeless man a meal the night prior to his death. Officer Patrick Zamarripa served several tours of duty in Iraq only to be felled by a fellow vet.

As French revelers celebrated, a 19-ton refrigeration truck was driven nearly 70 miles per hour over a 1.1 mile stretch of road. The driver directly aimed for and struck celebrants before being stopped by French officers. The aftermath left trails of family ruin and death. One moment, a great celebration. The next moment, despair.

This post is not about the value of a life, whether it be Castile or Sterling, Dallas police officers or French victims. Each have been duly honored for giving more than I ever will. This post is not about the merits of concealed carry, the right to bear arms, Black Lives Matter or the fight against terrorism. This is about “understanding,” as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross noted perfectly:

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”

What I thought about were those brief moments when loved ones said goodbye and were never heard from again.

I am curious how life interacts, becomes separated from the interconnectedness and reconnects by some seemingly unrelated event. Any of us can be connected to family and friends one moment only to be connected to some tragic event later. We forget the number of lives we have touched today is like counting waves in the ocean, because each wave follows another until it vanishes from us. Through the lives of one another, everyone has already lived so many lives, so many forms, so and participated in so many stories.

In a noncritical way, as I look upon life’s ocean waves, I cannot but wonder what could have been – if Castile never purchased a handgun or achieved a concealed carry permit; if Castile’s officer had taken a more conciliatory approach; if a veteran sought help rather than a weapon; if the damn truck in Nice, France didn’t start or if someone offered its driver an open hand. Would all that were lost be alive?

I doubt if each victim imagined their life would end so abruptly. You and I share similar backgrounds, faiths, experiences, thoughts and love. Rarely does one think that before day’s end, one would move onward. Yet that very fact is all too common.

Readers, like those whom love and share our journey are the characters of our story. Most never want the story to end. Like you, we’ve invested significant effort into the knowing, molding and loving, the highs, lows and middle. We find it extremely difficult to near the final chapter.

Rarely do we have the ability to control our goodbye, there’s never enough time. We human ants are too busy with workouts, meetings, plane flights, doctor appointments, family and social functions. We replace brief moments of sharing with football, baseball, working late, burning the midnight oil and fixated upon this or that. Meanwhile, the readers of our lives wonder of the story within, the writer’s composition and homily. Oh how the writer becomes a stranger, even to himself.

Unlike many, I haven’t chosen a one and true path. I’ve traveled far. But have I lived richly? My soul’s youth yearned to changed the world. I didn’t. I only changed myself. I know many would have loved my spontaneity, my energy, my ability to make people laugh. Yet I hid and cloistered my soul, even from those whom I loved. I forgot the last time I made love, lightly caressed or kissed.

The lesson this Buddha learned is that life and living life are completely different. Living life means recognizing our interconnections. This week’s memoriams demonstrate true living, people who embraced life’s highs, lows and middles. Life was about embracing their readers, about being human in the most vulnerable way, reaching out toward interconnectedness and rippling the ocean’s waves.

So, for all who passed, please … please relish, live and connect with the readers of your book (life).

dallasListening to President Obama’s memorial speech in Dallas, I reflected upon Baltimore.

When Freddie Gray died April 19, 2015, and riots erupted, Baltimore and its residents were forced to confront issues that had plagued them for decades. Personally, I was about 1200 miles west when Baltimore protests erupted over the death of Freddie Gray. Like most, we’ve watched too many protests, from Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, Florida, Atlanta, Oakland and many others via the comfort of some easy chair. What had been mostly peaceful protests erupted into rock-throwing, looting and fires.

This past year has seen me working at hospitals in the Baltimore and Washington area, with one hospital a mere four blocks from the original riots.  There is much to praise and much work remains.

A year later, dozens of Baltimore legislative proposals resulted were generated because of the death of a disadvantaged, young, black man from West Baltimore. From policing and criminal justice reform to efforts to Baltimore neighborhoods and lead poisoning referendums, reforms are underway. Other things have remained the same. Officers involved in Gray’s death have not been held accountable. DeRay McKesson (Black Lives Matter leader) was not elected mayor and the makeup of Baltimore legislators has essentially remained the same.

Yet, when I look at protests in Dallas and other cities, I often ask myself, What’s next? What happens after the march? What happens when to burning singe of hatred is cooled? Where does the movement go?

While not completely agreeing with President Obama on every issue, I do believe that if we truly want to improve a community, the police cannot do it alone. Societal effort is required. Police, residents, schools, elected officials, along with those who work in housing, transportation and health must all work together to make difference.

We must also learn to love one another. In his book What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver noted:

“I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making. Not one of us moved. Not even when the room went dark.”

That is what interdependent love is. It is listening to that beating heart, and when we hear it, it is our job to interpret it to the best of our abilities. We need to find a piece of each other in our daily life.

We have to get past yelling. It is true that the most important things to say are the hardest things to say, but we have to do it.

PrayerI watched in horror last night as five Dallas police officers were killed and another seven wounded in a racially charged attack that ended when police used a robot to kill the sniper. The killings came at the end of a largely peaceful protest over a pair of fatal shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. These killings culminate a string of killings of black men by police officers, including Ferguson, Missouri, New York, Baltimore and Chicago.

Several things concern me.

First, looking at the tactics and weaponry used last night, one has to ask, “Are we at war?” When does disagreement and the thirst for political integrity justify the use of heavy weapons?  As noted by Carl Philipp Gottfried, “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” When do we lose our ability to communicate that our only option is to don camo-pants, an ill-fitted bulletproof vest and weapons? Does it matter if one is pro-Black Lives Matter, pro-abortion, pro-life, anti-religious this or that, anti-this or anti-that?  Must the next logical step be shoot first, dialogue later.

Secondly, our current juncture in history lends itself to the fact we are exceptional at destruction. We suck at repairing. Whether the issues are Iraq or homeland infrastructure, healthcare, abortion, left leaning judges, right leaning judges, whatever … it seems our current nature leans toward complete and utter destruction. We lack the ability for common interfaith dialogue.

Jay Parini echoed similar comments on an CNN opinion piece earlier today.

“Are we a people at war with ourselves, unable or unwilling to control our most violent urges? Must we settle every dispute with a gun or a bomb? Who is responsible for this mayhem that plays out on many fronts?

We quickly blame the other guy: the Mexican or Wall Streeter, the immigrant, Muslims, “millionaires and billionaires.” In our confusion and malaise, we have become a deeply angry nation. As such, we reach for scapegoats, and they’re easy to find. Anyone who doesn’t look or sound like ourselves becomes suspicious.”

The real pain of Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Orlando and Dallas is that someone always wakes up fatherless, motherless, daughter-less, brother-less, sister-less, uncle-less. As a Buddhist, I — along with communities and practitioners of all faiths — stand in solidarity with those who seek to live in peace and nonviolence, and grieve for the loss of life

Yes, I concur we have too many freely available weapons. However, I also believe we have too many disenfranchised people. Theoretically, we could fix the gun issue. We wont. Just look no further than recent bipartisan gun legislation condemned to legislative purgatory.

If society is to survive, we must fix disenfranchisement. If we don’t, all we’ll get is one more prayer service.

Anderson Cooper 360 began with the names … Right on Anderson.

PrayIn 1991, Barbara Poma’s older brother John died battling HIV. Twelve years later, Poma and her friend Ron Legler founded Pulse Orlando in memoriam to her brother and as a safe space supporting the LGBT community.

According to police, alleged shooter Omar Mateen opened fire early Sunday morning at Pulse. An officer working at the club initially responded, “engaging in a gun battle” before the suspect went back into the club, Authorities say that at least 50 people have been killed and at least 53 are injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Playwright Arthur Miller wrote “violence in our streets is the violence in our hearts.” So much so that violence by weapon has weaved so much into daily life we hardly notice. To add support, BradyCampaign.org notes on average, 31 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 151 are treated for some form of gun assault. Additionally, every day, on average, 55 people kill themselves with a firearm and 46 people are wounded or killed via a gun. In contrast, if 86 people were dying each day from the mosquito bred Zika Virus, there’d be holy hell on the streets of America.

Over the coming days, thousands will pay their respects, reefs laid, memorials held, tears shed and promises to remember will be made. Homage and prayers were offered by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and many celebrities. Donald Trump? Well, Trump congratulated himself. But at the end of the day, even this shooting will have little positive impact for the Washington electorate to implement anything more than a few moments of silence.

The important part of Sunday remembrances came not from celebrities but rather from those who survived the shooting. Brothers, sisters and children were not overly idealized or enlarged in death beyond what they were in life. Each victim was remembered simply as a good and decent person, who saw wrong, tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it.

Pulse Orlando was about was Love.

And what set Pulse Orlando and victims apart from the hate was their depth of love – not only for each other but their community as well. It’s the same love Christ and Buddha offered. And that form of agape love can never be forced, even by a whacked out, mentally deranged idiot. Why? Because power never wins. A true God does not want subservience, but love. Pulse Orlando and all those LGBT rights activists chose the sometimes slow, hard way of agape love. It’s a conquest from within.

George McDonald captured both Christ and Buddha’s approach, “Instead of the crushing power of force; instead of destroying what we believe to be infidels, these victims encouraged making one another better people. (paraphrased)” Better citizens. They chose to love one another.

Victims in this shooting are voices speaking from heaven. Some will try to dismiss them but each victim is dazzling proof of love’s transfiguration. Each one is beautiful and may their voices roar to the power of love.

After learning of a colleague’s death (You Are Not Alone), I flew from Baltimore, landing midday in a Midwest city I’ve haven’t seen in months. I’ve chosen to name my colleague Daryl. Though not this person’s true identity, Daryl is interchangeable between male and female.

I attended Daryl’s wake late Friday. As the parlor doors opened, some 50 or so of Daryl’s colleagues huddled in the receiving line. Pictures donned poster-like billboards both before and after the viewing and covered Daryl’s life, from childhood. Daryl’s life appeared well documented and many shared storied with uneven tears and bewilderment. By the time I left, mourners reached 250. Awe struck by the deep tenderness and love, I wondered throughout the wake if Daryl knew. Would Daryl have passed if this depth of love had been known?

Landing back in Baltimore late Friday, I sat in an easy chair of the Marriott. I typed a quick Apple iMessage to Amy (not her real name), one of Daryl’s coworker’s who sat two (2) cubicles away.

I was impressed and shocked by the amount reverence Daryl’s family received. By the time I left, there were close to 250 or more well wishers,” I texted.

Several minutes passed before receiving a response.

That’s nice. I didn’t go, as I did not know Daryl.

In the twenty-six hours since starting this post, I remain befuddled. How can someone sit two cubicles away and not know your coworker; not say hello, talk about the weather, a favorite sports team, politics, a good restaurant or show; vacation, children, wife, love, hopes, dreams or sorrows? I don’t get it. The cubicles of life are five by seven, yet for many they are chasms.

Of course disappointment has been with the human race for centuries. Disappointment did not vanish in from the earth in Jesus’ day and hasn’t vanished in the two thousand years since.

More importantly, where was God? In a time of crisis, a time of faith, I can’t believe Daryl needed smoke, fire and a burst of light or heavenly songs. Daryl was a common human being from the middle of nowhere who played in the backyard, celebrated friendship over a drink, watched fireworks on July 4th, celebrated the seasons and volunteered at church. Yet somewhere between this life and the next, Daryl lost faith. Life lost a wonderful soul. A spouse lost a partner. Children lost a parent. Parents lost a child.

I’m often asked if God is unfair. Hadn’t the prophets promised God would wipe tears, heal the sick, raise the dead? Instead, what we receive today is eBay auctions of people selling faith of Christ-like images on toast, in the clouds or some other trivial form. Jesus did heal some people, but many went unhealed. Lazarus was raised from the dead. Yet, Lazarus eventually passed, as does everyone. Obviously, at His word, Jesus could have healed a multitude, but statistically speaking, only few merited such intervention.

Did Daryl experience the same loss faith John the Baptist experienced? He prophesied Christ’s coming. However, a few years later, he smuggled a message, “Are you the one who was expected to come?” Some days, I wonder myself.

I don’t believe Daryl ever wanted a miracle or a visible sign of power or glory. Daryl wanted the touch of a friend, a gentle smile, to share a cup of coffee, to laugh. Daryl wanted faith, love and hope. And when we silently walk past those in our life, we become indifferent and ignorant.

Whether you’re Christian, atheist or Buddhist, say hello to as many people as possible. You never know how that simple conversation will empower someone. So Monday morning, when I get to my client, I will purposefully walk at least two cubes and introduce myself. It is my silent memoriam to Daryl to find someone who thinks they are alone and convince them they’re not.

Don’t let the cubicles of life become chasms.

You Are Not Alone

Not AloneA client acquaintance of mine passed away this past Sunday.  While I did not know this person particularly well, I understand from other coworkers that this person may have ended his life.  Somehow, on a Sunny Sunday, this middle-aged person, two children and a good career passed away.

Those of us outside the family’s inner circle remain perplexed. And like armchair coroners, for better or for worse, many scalpel this person, slicing open their life, peeling the facade like an onion. Why?

For those like me, who experienced so few interactions, why must we strip this person’s dignity on the cold steel table of our imagination? We care so little for others that we walk past people, day-in, day-out, with nary a glance. Yet we presume to have the right to dissect the dead, to explore, to investigate, to simply satisfy curiosity.

Think I am wrong, then look no further than Prince. Not into Prince? How about Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley or Robin Williams?

We need to autopsy ourselves. If this acquaintance really did commit suicide then we need forgiveness – forgiveness for not saying hello, forgiveness for not being supportive and forgiveness for being so god damn arrogant. We need to understand that at the basic human level, pain often wins. We need to understand that when hope loses, faith does as well.

In reference to her husband’s death, Susan Schneider, Robin Williams’ widow said, she was beside herself in agony. She fought to the end, but didn’t know what she was fighting. Our battle is similar. When someone dies, we often don’t know why. In our angst, it’s even more important not to stop fighting for one another, living and loving – in life, love and pain.

As many of you know, I once considered suicide. Not because of the degrading physical pain I currently experience, but because of mental pain that incessantly encased me. Like many, I often thought there was no escape. But like many, I made it, just as many others made it. There is life beyond the pain.

So … if you’re contemplating suicide, my advice is go ahead and kill yourself. But don’t do it with a rope or a gun or a knife or a handful of pills. Do not end your life by destroying your body. Kill yourself by cutting off your former life and going in a completely new direction. Kill the old life by starting anew. Be someone different. Live, love and learn in ways never imagined.

Yeah, it wasn’t easy. And there were times I thought living to be impossible. Yet things changed and when they did, they really changed.

Lastly, if you feel alone you’re not. If need to talk to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They will fight for you. I will fight for you. Everyone one of us should fight for you.

Life’s Cycle

LifecycleI faced my parents and friends with dignity. I looked into their heart, eyes that searched, worn faces and longing hope.

My body’s giving out. One day soon, I won’t be able to get around.”

Why?” my mother asked.

Why?” I sighed. “Well, life.  Like all things, life detonates.”

In a chapter titled “When the Air Hits Your Brain,” author Frank Vertosic wrote that life is encircled in a repetitive wheel of motion. We get up, Make the coffee. Head to work. Work. Head home. Exercise a little. Sleep. For most of us, our lives are trapped in orbits, with the grand pattern of life changing a little.

The late George Carlin said something to the effect, “Everybody needs 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 8 hours play and one good shit.” Brutally honest? Yes. But the circle of life is brutally honest.

Someday, our life, my life, your life, will detonate.  There will be an auto accident, brain hemorrhage, heart attack, tremor, a fall, allergic reaction. Cancer, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and others diseases will sweep into everyone’s life. All life’s mishaps are part of a larger biological process designed for one purpose: to kill. As with all living things, life becomes one problem after another. Prostate problems, Alzheimer’s, back problems, eye cataracts, degenerative arthritis and hardening of the arteries are nature’s way of recycling the world population. The list is endless.

At its core, our life, and its end, is a design feature. Just as a Buddhist recognizes the cycle of life our cars, computers or cell phones, we’re all built to die. All things experience birth, life, an autumn and a death. Each creation enjoys a finite number of days in the sun then make way for a newer set of the living. Nature respects and implements continuous turnover, interspersing mutations of good genes, keeping life flexible and lean. Our commission to keep and ensure this lifecycle moves forward.

Buddhist clergy remind followers about closeness of death, their own demise. Likewise, they want each of you to live. Accordingly, how do we live? It’s fairly simple, just behave in a manner which you believe is responsible, good and positive for yourself and towards others. This leads to calmness, happiness and an outlook which contributes to a calm and controlled mind.

Through this positive and compassionate outlook of life, always being aware of the impermanence of life and having a loving attitude towards all living things. Having lead a responsible and compassionate life and having no regrets enables us to surrender without struggle to the inevitable and in a state of grace which need not be as uncomfortable as we are led to believe.

After stating my peace, one family member muttered, “Well maybe God will heal you.” Doubtful. In my eighteen years of working in hospitals and the insurance arena, I have never seen Jesus come and remove someone’s tumor. The other resounding fact is that the wheel of humanity will turn just fine without me.

Neil Gaiman poetically noted that life was both sexually transmitted and terminal. At the time I read it, I thought it was funny as hell. Still do.

In time, my shoulders and arms will make frequent mistakes. The current half-hour needed each morning to move without pain will increase to an hour; then two, then three; to a half-day, to most of the day. Eventually, people will have to assist me. I probably won’t be able to write or even stay awake. Weakness becomes paralysis.

My end goal is simple. Should I even reach one person, what I want is for each generation to grow better than the last. Adapt, laugh, love and survive long enough to keep the wheel of life turning.

TVThis blog has not opined too deeply into current presidential politics. This has more to do with the fact all the presumptive nominees have yet to be decided. By I read New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman’s article “Clinton’s Fibs, and Her Opponents’ Double Whoppers” with interest:

“… while Hillary’s struggles with the whole truth on certain issues have garnered huge attention, driving up her negatives, Trump and Bernie Sanders have been getting away with some full Burger King Double Whoppers that will come crashing down on the whole country if either gets the chance to do what he says.”

Both Trump and Sanders appear to come from opposite sides of the same coin. Each claims political mobilization, but beyond the veneer, little appears to have changed. Neither candidate has generated real mobilization.

Real political mobilization is about getting constituents to become voters, voters to become activists and activists to become candidates. It has yet to be seen if the extreme ideas proposed by either Sanders or Trump can transform the electorate and drive public policy at the state and local level. If what has been reported is accurate, the Vermont senator has not drawn as large crowds to his events in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. Sanders may resonate in some places, but certainly not all.

Additionally, Trump has only garnered roughly 11,500,000 primary votes while Sanders has netted about 10,000,000. Contrast that to 2012, when President Barack Obama received 65,915,796 general election votes. To be elected the 45th president, each must compete on a political map that, for now, looks forbidding. This means both Trump and Sanders will require not only all their primary voters, but also an additional 50 – 55 million more voters.

First take-away: political challenges are huge.

When Republicans took control of the House, America experienced two of the least productive Congresses in history. Strangely, this happened after we elected a group of politicians to government who openly stated that they hated government. In a Trump victory, Trump must navigate the reality of political tide. Numerically speaking, there’s only 24 Republican and 10 Democratic seats up for reelection in 2016. As of this writing, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, both Bush presidents, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Former GOP Mitt Romney, and former Florida Sen. and former RNC chairman Mel Martinez rejects the idea of voting for Trump.

If Sanders wins, he’ll have to go it alone.  With a veto-proof Senate and a majority in the House of Representatives, President Obama had to battle those who were grotesquely entrenched in their own special interests.  At a time when affordable health care, a democratic priority, should have been a slam-dunk, President Obama was forced to scale back his plan.  Universal health care was never an option and even the public option (Medicare/Medicaid) was seen as “too radical.”  In the end, it took every single ounce of support to pass the Affordable Care Act, without a single vote from Republicans in the Senate as well as 35 Democrats refusing to support it in the House.

Then there are economic realities.

Trump’s border wall will encompass many subplots. If erected, trade routes will shut down, water rites and land contested and industries wouldn’t be able to export products. The economies of both El Paso and Ciudad Juárez would take major hits. For Sanders, the issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time. Yet many economists claim Sanders fiscal policies reside in fantasy-land. Sanders critics claim there is little credible economic research supporting claimed economic benefits.

Neither candidate has politically mobilized constituents to become voters, voters to become activists and activists to become candidates. Freidman got it right.

“All lying in politics is not created equal. I think the ideology Bernie is selling is fanciful, but underlying it is a moral critique of modern capitalism that has merit and deserves to be heard. But Bernie is not being truthful about the costs. What is grating about Hillary is that her prevarications seem so unnecessary and often insult our intelligence. But they are not about existential issues. As for Trump, his lies are industrial size and often contradict each other. But there is no theory behind his lies, except what will advance him, which is why Trump is only scary if he wins. Otherwise, his candidacy will leave no ideas behind. It will just be a reality TV show that got canceled.”

Then again, I believe all most Americans want is a TV show. If we’re not careful, that’s what we’ll get.

01-gorilla-harambe-deathDebate has raged over the death of Harambe the gorilla. As you have heard, Harambe was shot and killed to protect toddler who slipped through the railing and plummeted more than 10 feet into the exhibit’s moat. While animal experts and activists believe the Cincinnati Zoo was right to fatally shoot Harambe, that alone did not offset the public scrutiny of the parents.

Critics felt the zoo should have done more before killing Harambe and many urged authorities to hold the boy’s parents criminally responsible, with an online petition called “Justice for Harambe” had more than 330,000 signatures Tuesday.

In truth, I believe zoo officials had to a make a critical, probably correct, but politically incorrect decision. And I honor them for that decision.

Whether the toddler’s parents are charged or not isn’t my issue. What bothers me is the 32-year-old Cincinnati mother’s now-deleted Facebook post, thanking the zoo for making the difficult decision to shoot the gorilla to save her son. The post, in part, quotes, “God protected my child until the authorities were able to get him.” Further, “Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awesome God that He is.”

What bothers me is our society’s overuse of God’s intervention toward the good while not acknowledging the reverse. In other words, if God positively impacted events and protected this child from Harambe, then does He not stand passively aside while countless other children perished? Why did God protect this child and not others?

For instance, several days ago a north Texas man shot and killed his 3-year-old stepson, Dominic Tra’Juan Castro, because he was upset the child was jumping on the bed. In what authorities called a tragic accident, a 2-year-old girl was found dead inside her mother’s car at a Mississippi daycare. The mother thought she had taken her child to daycare before going to work. Also, a 9-year-old boy died after being shot in the head near Indianapolis. Police say the shooting occurred Friday afternoon at an apartment complex in the community.

So was God there or not there to protect these children? While the list of children hurt or killed remains endless, we are quick to praise God for apparent miracles while simultaneously remaining silent for His lack of accountability. We cannot experience God one way. To do so is an affront to those who’ve suffered tremendous agony.

Final food for thought – if God was so heavily involved with protecting the child, why’d Harambe have to die? Couldn’t both have been saved?

Paraphrasing from Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s logic after 9/11, if you’re going to tell me about how God protected your child, you better also be able to explain how God did not protect other children.  The test of that has to do with going and saying it to the person who just buried a child and look in their eyes and tell them God’s plan was to allow the death of their child. Look at them and tell them that God’s plan was that their family should go to bed every night for the rest of their lives without their son or daughter. If you can say that, well, at least you’re honest. I don’t worship the same God, but that at least has integrity.

Personally, the child is alive because of quick acting dedicated zoo staff. Nothing more, nothing less.

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