Despite Erin's hopeful message recently that the good things going on in the world greatly outnumber the bad, most of us are still struggling, I'm sure, with the incredible loss of life on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
The depth and harshness of the loss didn't really hit me until I started seeing photos and thumbnail sketches of some of the victims in The New York Times.
Look for a minute at just a few:
John Allen, his wife Sandra Martens and their three sons, 8 to 14 years old. John, 44, was a prominent British lawyer. Sandra was a Dutch elementary school teacher. The family lived near Amsterdam and was traveling to Indonesia on a vacation. John's sister said: "I lost my whole family; my only, brilliant brother and his beautiful wife and three magnificent children."
Shazana Salley, 31. Shazana was a flight attendant and one of 15 Malaysian crew members on board. Her father said it was her dream to become a flight attendant and travel the world. She was a soccer fan, and days earlier she had watched the final game of the World Cup.
Pim de Kuijer, 32. A former European Commission diplomat, Pim was gong to an international AIDS conference in Australia. A couple of years ago, according to The Times, "he famously came out as being gay during a stand-up comedy routine in a well-known café in Amsterdam. After that experience, he committed himself to activism of all sorts."
Entire families. Brilliant researchers. Young people full of curiosity and looking at horizons that should have been unobstructed...all snuffed out in violent, horrific fashion.
Dear God, what do we do? How should the sane world respond? Is there hope? We know there is; it just doesn't seem to balance out the evil and the horrific. Help us. Be on the ground with us. Soothe the souls of those who loved the people on flight MH17.
Jim Fitzpatrick and his wife Patty have been members of Saint Andrew for seven years. They have two children, a daughter, Brooks, 26, and a son, Charlie, 24. Jim was covenant groups coordinator for three years and now is a member of the Stewardship Committee.