21 August 2007

Tragedy on the Africa Mercy

I feel strange writing about this, maybe because it taps into the inchoate fear that colors all our excitement about Sierra Leone, Mercy Ships, and what's in store for us at the start of 2008. Even though I know none of the people involved, I want to pretend this didn't happen.

But it did, and I can't begin to imagine the feelings that have accompanied it. A crew member on the Africa Mercy died last month; he drowned while swimming in the Atlantic, off one of Liberia's many beaches. He was just shy of his twenty-second birthday. I hesitate even to publish this post, for many reasons. Foremost among those, though, is that fear—that, even though Mercy Ships is, in general, a relatively safe environment in a relatively unsafe country, the fact is, there are things we simply take for granted. Lifeguards at beaches, for example. When have you ever seen one do anything besides be eye-candy? Would things have been different if one was there?

I guess if we wanted safety, though, we wouldn't have signed up for this adventure. But something like this—something so unexpected, so final—makes the reality of the situation a little clearer than the romantic ideal.

Sure, we shouldn't be afraid. Sure, the chances are so amazingly slim. But, we are imperfect people. And, inchoate though it is, the fear is still there. As the inimitable Canadian said:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

Meanwhile, keep Collin's family in your prayers. However you see fit.

1 comment:

drisdy said...

will do.