The day after 9/11, I sat stunned and disbelieving by my fish pond. The air so dense with grief it was difficult to breathe yet the fish and birds seemed oblivious to my lamentations. A blue jay swooped in and chased a cardinal away despite the fact that the feeder was full. It reminded me of the senseless destruction of the World Trade Towers. God created a universe full of abundance yet his creatures were destroying each other in greed and violence.
Someone asked, “Where is your God now, Dr. Burns?”
Here is my answer.
9/12/01 10:47am Psalm Twenty-three Revisited or Where was God?
The Lord is my shepherd as a man holds a box cutter
I shall not want and a woman phones her husband.
He maketh me to lie down as a jet crashes in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the fiery gates of steel and the still waters.
He restoreth my soul as a priest administers the last rites
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness to a fireman.
They die in each other’s arms for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk by two hundred and twenty crumbling stories
through the valley of the shadow
a cardinal sings of death.
And a blue jay chases the red one away,
I will fear, he is hungrier,
no evil. He is bigger.
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort as a cardinal sings on me.
Water circles a pond as thou preparest a table
where one hundred fish swim before me in the presence
and this flowing creates the breath of my enemies.
As fish breath under water and my cup runneth over.
Once there were three fish, he annointeth my head with oil,
Now there are one hundred.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow
Fish swim, fish breathe and a cardinal sings to me, all the days of my life.
And I will dwell, now the thousands search in the house of the Lord
for loved ones to say goodbye, I’ll miss you forever.
Julia W. Burns, MD