How does God decide? Depending on the space I ask this question, I may be met with the genuine laughter of a secular audience or the uncomfortable giggle of a lifelong disciple.
My question may be rooted in a blasphemous thought process, yet I want the world to know that it is a childlike curiosity wrought with the despair of an adult who has witnessed pain in many forms. When the floods push through at the foundations and sheetrock of decades-long mortgages, how does God decide who gets to walk away from such despair?
It seems hyperbolic to say that Freeport was a warzone.
I sometimes gaslight myself into thinking that the immediate days after Hurricane Dorian were not as bad as my dreams say it was. I long convinced myself that the trauma of Hurricane Dorian was not one that I could lay claim to. I had to be present for this to truly be my tragedy.
Watching the North Atlantic Ocean engulf the houses in my neighborhood was only valid if I saw it in person, not through the little expensive black box sitting neatly in the palm of my hand. God had spared me from the first-hand account of the terrifying onslaught of mother nature’s stunning wrath. Her voice echoing the generations of abuse she had faced at the hands of men, her own hands ripping apart the lives of those who dared stand in her path.
Those kinder than me, wiser than me, holier than me found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun loaded with seawater and despair, while I stood in a Canadian airport racing against time and thunder to get back to the only home I’ve ever known.
I was dry. I was safe.
How does he decide who gets to find the body of a loved one and who gets to relinquish their memories to the mysteries of the deep and the storm surges and currents that dragged them there? Does he stand at the edge of heaven and ask for time with his thoughts? Is there a numerical system that he left up to the angels to decide? Does he flip a coin?
The prophets, though false they may be, claimed him to be angry. They spoke of dreams where tsunamis overtook our world because of the ways in which we turned our backs to him.
I cannot imagine anger I’ve ever felt though, where I’ve wanted to take away life and all that creates it. To relegate God to the emotion of man seems not sacrilegious, yet too simple. It seems too simple to liken him to an angry child destroying all in his path on a whim. In a sudden outburst of tantrum-like frustration. At times I struggle with my faith yet even on days when my conviction wavers, I find God to be above taking back promises made in the Old Testament.
I am well aware of my irreverence.
In my search for truth, I have become callous, almost desperate for answers that evade the leaders around me. Foolish enough to believe that I may be able to make sense of the many missing, and the many dead. The many left homeless and the many left shivering when the clouds turn darker than a summer’s day should allow. I’ve turned over debris that has turned into vacant land that has turned into a shadow of what was and yet still, the answers slip through my fingers like sand.
How does God decide who among us gets to experience,
A mixture of generations that understand nothing but the preparation of the storm to come and the harsh hopefulness of the inevitable rebuild. A rebuild that chips at the foundation bit by bit until eventually there’s nothing left to build on.
I have no answers. I’ve spent the past 769 days trying to find them. Most times there is no purpose in our pain. Bad things happen to good people and should we choose to find a lesson, then we have learned that self-soothing is not just a method used by newborns when left to face the cruelty of a new world.
How does God decide who gets to be on the receiving end of the severity known as “God has a plan” and when are we allowed to play an actual part of it?
How does God decide? Maybe he doesn’t.
Maybe he is as much a victim of circumstance as we all are. I have yet to process the cruelty of either.
A higher being unwilling to stop tragedy.
Or a higher being unable to.
Ashleigh Sean Rolle is a Bahamian writer from Freeport, Grand Bahama. She writes for the site 10th Year Seniors, where she regularly shares her opinion on everyday Bahamian affairs. Her work has also appeared on CNN.com and HuffPost as a contributor. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ashsean.