Posted Online: April 23, 2013, 3:04 pm

Sometimes it's hard just to breathe

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By Gabriele Doyle

Good morning, everyone.

Before I start the actual body of this column, I wanted to invite all of you to come hear the speaker who influenced my first column on May 5 and 6 at the Moline Church of Christ. His name is Steve Diggs, and he is a down-to-earth, genuine man who cares about his audience. His program is titled "Retooled and Refueled."

Lest you think I'm simply doing gratuitous advertising, this seminar ties in perfectly with what I want to talk about this week. I don't know how all the rest of you deal with things going on in the world, but I'm not able to separate myself from it at all well.

We've had the ricin incident, the horrific explosion in West, Texas, the Boston Marathon bombings, devastating flooding in the Quad-Cities, and a threat in Rock Island by a man wanting to blow his house up (never mind the neighbors, of course). It's been an awful lot to handle in a week.

There's a wonderful hymn with a line that says, "When sorrow flows from eye to eye and joy from heart to heart." It's referring to Christian fellowship. In the broader sense it could be interpreted as community fellowship.

I think we've all been hit with so many difficulties that it really is time to "retool and refuel." Even as a Christian I'm feeling beaten down. Despite the heinous nature of their acts, I was extremely uncomfortable with the whooping and hollering of the people on the street when the announcement came of the death and capture of the two Tsarnaev brothers.

I found myself wondering how on earth they could attack the people they had been living among for so many years, and yet it didn't seem right somehow to be raucously celebrating their fate. The news clips I watched seemed to show a preponderance of young people engaged in this behavior, and I can only think that as they grow older and more experienced, they will see the whole tragedy of this incident.

While I disagree with President Obama on quite a number of issues, I still found myself outraged that someone would send him a deadly poison, again oblivious to the probability of others being harmed in the process.
We have a young couple at church with a 2-year-old and another on the way who were evacuated from their trailer and have no idea what they will face when the waters recede. While the Quad Cities is used to flooding from two rivers, it seems as though those "once-in-a-century" floods have happened an awful lot lately. The news last night said that the flooding had now become fatal. Another tragedy.

The details of the Texas fertilizer plant explosion and the marathon bombings have been everywhere for days so I'm sure you're familiar with them. The loss of first responders is reminiscent of 9/11 and is heartbreaking, while the deaths and maimings in both incidents are difficult even to take in. I watched a video of the Texas explosion taken by a father with his young daughter and the explosion and its resulting shock wave were absolutely enormous and mind-numbing.

In both these incidents, people's lives were changed literally in a heartbeat. It's terribly frightening to me, and I constantly have to remind myself that God is still the ruler of the world and He is aware of everything going on.
It has also been encouraging to see the efforts of the general public to help in both explosion incidents as well as the flooding here in the Quad Cities. But does anyone else reading this feel the weight of the world right now?
I'm afraid too many of us have become inured to the bad news in the media. I don't believe we respond emotionally to bombings in the Mideast, Pakistani marketplaces, Iranian buses or whatever the case may be anymore. Citizens of those countries live with this every day.

In the U.S. we have suffered many atrocities (think Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook, Conn., among them) but are still able to respond with an outpouring -- a flood, if you will -- of support. That support is encouraging to all of us as a nation, not just to those who have been affected by a particular tragedy.

And "though the wrong seems oft so strong," this country's people are amazingly good-hearted. If there is anything to be learned from all the recent heartbreak, it is that in our kindness and generosity we are strong, and while the U.S. has always been quick and generous with aid to other countries in times of great tragedy, perhaps as people of different nationalities, faiths and creeds we can be reminded of our common humanity.
Gabriele Doyle of Andalusia serves as business manager of River Bend Christian Counseling, which she started with her husband.