We live in a wonderful world—and that does not mean that our
world is not faced with enormous challenges. We live wonderful
lives—and that does not mean that our lives are not filled with
enormous challenges. Our world is, and our lives are.

What,
then, is the purpose and the point of all this? Why are we being put
through all that we are being put through? And why are some, but not
others, subjected to unparalleled pain and —to say nothing of
sudden and "undeserved" death?

I use that term because I was
reading in the newspaper the other day of the remark of a prosecuting
attorney arguing before a jury about the death of a woman who had been
strangled in her garage by 15-year-old boy who said that all he wanted
was to steal her car. Said the prosecutor about the woman: "She did not
deserve to die."

Who does?

I mean, what does
that phrase mean?

I suppose there are some killers, now on
death row, of whom there are those who would say: "they deserve to die."
But do they, really? And even if you think that they do, let’s get back
to the "pain and suffering" experience. Does anybody "deserve" to have
pain and suffering in their life?

How does all this work here?
What are the "rules" here on earth that make some people "deserving" of
death, and other people not; that make some people "deserving" of pain
and suffering, and other people not?

Yes, there are people who
believe that certain other people "deserve" to have pain and suffering
in their life. A few years ago there were those who even said that AIDS
was "God’s punishment" for lives in ways that were not in accordance
with God’s Will. Others have made the same argument about different
forms of pain and suffering. It’s God’s Will. It’s God’s punishment.

Is that how it works? People do "bad" things and God punishes
them? He gives them pain and suffering here on earth, then sends them to
hell after they die?

What about the pain and suffering of
wonderful people, like my grandmother, who suffered a stroke and lived
the last years of her life in much suffering and debilitation? What was
God’s purpose there?

The earthquake in Chili two ago is
what brought this all up for me again—and the tsunami in Hawaii that
"never was," even though for a while there we all (my wife and I
were on the Big Island at the time) that we were in major trouble…

Why were some people in harm’s way, and others not? How does Fate
decide these things? Is there some rhyme or reason? Is there some point
or purpose?

We shall look at these things in the weeks ahead as
we begin a three-part series:

LIFE’S GIFTS AND LIFE’S
TRAGEDIES: Making sense of it all

Part 1 next week. Be
sure to be with us!

Love and Hugs,
Neale.