Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a wildly famous book years ago, but many people nonetheless get the title wrong when speaking to him.
It’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People, he likes to remind.
“‘Why’ questions must be asked,” the Rev. Rodger Murchison said Thursday, “but in the end they are a one-way road to nowhere. I challenge us all to change our grief question from ‘Why’ to ‘What’.”
The good minister from First Baptist Church of Augusta was speaking at the packed funeral for slain Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh. But he could have been talking about any of us. Asking “why” yields little that our mortal brains can process. The better question is what: What will we do about the mysterious and maddening challenges that life hands us? What will our attitude be?
These are the things within our control and comprehension.
Famed psychiatrist Viktor Frankl suggested that we not ask questions of life anyway – rather, that we seek to understand what life is asking of us and respond accordingly.
As for the aftermath of Deputy Paugh’s murder, at the hands of a gunman who ultimately turned the weapon on himself, Rev. Murchison suggested being an ordinary person doing extraordinary things – a hero – like Paugh.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable — think about such things,” Murchison said, quoting the Bible.
Never is that advice more valuable than at times such as these.