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There's a part of us that might ask, what's the use. Haiti will be as much of a basket case after that last particular act of God, like all the others, recedes into myth. Pity the land that is made a colony of the French. The poor are always with us -- most especially if they live in a culture of utter corruption ... as distinct from just the workaday corruption inherent in the human condition.  Sheesh.  We can't even take a Carnival Cruise without being tormented by fate.

Why watch the news at all. More chaos? More of the same. Just more concentrated now, in time and location, in this era of mass communication.  Wars and rumors of war. It matters, theoretically and actually, but if you don't know, say, any Haitians, any compassion one might feel is theoretical, regardless of how genuine. And catastrophe victims aren't everyone's particular cross to bear. It must be a good thing, to not bleed for every wound that overtakes humanity. That's what callouses after all are for.

So when Pat Robertson said, say, that Haiti had made a pact with Satan 200 years ago, and that hurricane was a sort of judgment, well, do we need to have an opinion about his opinion? One of the ways the biblical God deals with humanity is through its nations. Maybe it's true. It's no dumber than Danny Glover's statement on exactly the same topic: The earthquake came from God as a judgment because Haiti didn't do enough to save The Planet at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.  Remember that?  As if the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere could have done anything at all. Could it even afford airfare to Denmark? At least Robertson had documents to support his claim. God after all has acted judgmentally, in the past. It's surprising though that Robertson imagined he had access to the archives of Hell, to know the private arrangements between slaves and Satan. As for Glover, it's surprising he believed in this sort of God. Must be Goddess, he means.

Ah well.  All that is old news.  What, five or ten years ago?  Who can remember.  And here we are, racing around, if only mentally, trying to find meaning. Why why why did this thing this or that horrible thing occur? Sin, private or public? A cursed creation? Entropy? Randomness? Job and David and every human being capable of thought have looked for an answer. Jesus gave one. Why do towers fall on innocent victims? So that non-victims will repent. We are all object lessons, one to another. This may not be an entirely satisfactory answer. It's doubtful that there is a better one.

Take addicts, drug addicts. California legislators and other ne'er-do-wells have agitated for legalized pot. So they can tax it and use it and be all groovy and socialistic. Yes, to profit from drug sales is a sound fiscal policy. Of course. But regarding addicts, there is nothing at all, ever, under any circumstance, that one can say, or do, or cause to be done, that can change an addict into not an addict. There is no formula, no thing, no performance, that is the thing to do. Wisdom is doing what is appropriate. Sometimes it's appropriate to understand helplessness. Sort of a Zen thing, where non-action is most dynamic. The still small voice, heard, where the Voice from the Whirlwind is just noise.

God is not all-powerful. He cannot be untrue to his own nature. He cannot violate our free will. Chosen, yes, and choosing. Not a contradiction. Not even a paradox. Just something we can't understand. That's probably why God wants us to be like little children. We have to accept some things, not because faith is valuable in itself -- it's just necessary if we want serenity.

What was the number of Haitian dead? Up to five hundred thousand? -- but that isn't likely to be right. Fifty thousand? Out of a population of ten million. So half a percent of the population, killed in a single blow. One and a half million, if it were the USA. Seems like a lot. But everyone dies. We just prefer that the horror be distributed more evenly across time. We prefer our grief to be decoupled from horror, for all that when we are overwhelmed we become numb. A madman or bureaucrat might propose that we get the killing and dying done all at once -- more efficient and statistically less traumatic. But something in our actual humanity argues against this sort of logic. God, taking the long view, allows both perspectives free expression, that we may chose between them as we please.

Of course God cares. It must be that he wants us to care as well. That, and that we should repent.

What does this have to do with fitness, or health? Or addiction or helplessness? This is the world we live in. We can live in it as victims, slaves to fate, or as captains of our destiny. The weather is what it is, with its droughts and hurricanes. How we sail the waters or traverse the wasteland is up to us. We eat what we chose to eat. We exercise as we will. The result of these things is health, and fitness, or its lack. We can't chose our bones. But we do choose what hangs off of them.

That's all. Understanding this, our strength and our helplessness, earns us all the serenity we will ever be entitled to.

Be excellent.


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