Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weeping and Its Virtues

There are some people, including my current roommate, who seem to think that I have a taste for the macabre. I seem to gravitate towards stories of human tragedy, even tragedies I've never personally experienced.

Take Chicago. If one takes any time at all to dig into the city's history, one can't help but learn about tragic events, such as the Iroquois Theatre Fire (which took the lives of many young children) and the sinking of the Eastland (one of the most tragic maritime disasters, perhaps even worse than the sinking of Titanic, in the sense that it was the result of bad engineering and poor planning, and it happened such a short distance from the city of Chicago itself). And then there was the 2003 porch collapse in Chicago, which was a sad and tragic ending to what should have been an enjoyable get-together.

Reading about the 1958 school fire at Our Lady of the Angels was like being there and hearing the screams of the children trapped inside that inferno.

I think that I am drawn to such stories partly because I believe that they enable me to cultivate empathy and compassion, and partly because they remind me of just how fragile and transient life on this earth can be and is. I am so looking forward to heaven, when I believe that all our tears will be dried and replaced with unspeakable joy.

Think I'm deluded? You're free to believe what you want to believe. But here's how I look at it: If I am wrong, I have little or nothing to lose. On the other hand, if others have foolishly chosen to live only for the moment and for themselves, they will forever regret having chosen to do so.

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