Friday, December 07, 2007

Why do bad things. . .

. . .happen to good people?

This question is as old as humanity. An entire book of the Old Testament is devoted to this question: the book of Job.

Today, I learned some news that took my breath away.

As you recall, I was recently in New Orleans attending a meeting of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Advisory Committee, a group on which I serve. One of the people we met on that trip was a retired teacher--Rich Cozzone--who had come from Ohio to volunteer as the overall coordinator of the volunteer villages.


Rich's interest in helping Hurricane Katrina victims recover was sparked by a personal experience:

"Rich Cozzone first became interested in helping the Gulf recover when he was on his way back to Ohio after dropping his son — then a sophomore at Tulane University. Rich had just left his son at school when Katrina hit. Rich said 'He called me from a bus that was evacuating him to Jackson, MS. From there he hitchhiked to Tennessee where I picked him up, safe and sound. I figured that I owed something back and this relief work has become a passion'.”

(Quote and photo from http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/gulfrelief/001.htm where there is a longer story about Rich.)


In February 2006, Rich came back to the Gulf, this time as a volunteer, not as a parent returning his son to school. He was in charge of training and overseeing workteams. Then in September, 2007, he was put in charge of all the Volunteer Villages. It was in this capacity that we met him.

When we met him, he exuded enthusiasm for the task at hand. He indicated he decided he had to leave his home in Ohio, and come to the Gulf coast area to volunteer--for however much time it took to help with the recovery effort.

Well, his time has now ended--tragically, he was killed in a traffic accident last night.

When I received this news, it absolutely took my breath away.

I do not often ask--why do bad things happen to good people. But this time I did.

There are no other words right now.

13 comments:

Climenheise said...

I'm so sorry, Donna. Such news always takes one's breath away, and there is no way to answer our quesetions so as to satisfy. For now anyway.

Beverly said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I asked the same thing April 30,2002 when my husband was tragically killed in an accident too.

I began to learn more and more about God's wonderful grace during those dark days that followed...but that aside, it is hard.

Mary said...

It's very unfair. There are few words I can offer, except, "I'm sorry."

mon@rch said...

So sorry to hear about the accident!

JeanMac said...

So sorry to hear that- there is no good answer.

Anvilcloud said...

I wish you well as you grieve.

ocean and forest walks said...

I have a different take on it all Donna...as my outlook never is within the normal....I thought how wonderful this man was,.. that he could give his gifts to us and to the earth, how wonderful that he lived and gave so much...there is the shock and sadness and loss but it can never diminish how well someone lived and I am sure his spirit is continuing to do good works. I sorrow for his family and dear friends though.

KGMom said...

Thanks to all for sharing your sympathies. I knew Rich only briefly. I can't imagine the grief his family feels right now.

Beverly--oh my. I do recall you saying your husband had died, but I didn't know the circumstances. That must have been a very painful time for you.

Ocean--I appreciate your other view, and I agree. I kept thinking how Rich had said he would be in the Gulf for an unknown amount of time. Of course, he meant that it was unknown how long the work might take. His untimely death gives a totally different meaning now to his prescient words.

Pam said...

Donna, I am so sorry. And sorry, too, that there is no answer to that question.

Anonymous said...

I just now read your blog and question (and comments). I've asked that question many times: When Dorothy died at seven months; When your mother died less than two months short of her 71st birthday. This names two very trenchant times in my life. I don't know the answer. But I do trust in God.
Love, Father "C"

Ben and Leah said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. That is definitely a hard question to ask and one I've asked so much since Jamie died. It's hard to lose someone and very hard to lose someone unexpectedly. I'll be praying for his family as they deal with this tragic event and for you also. Thanks again!

Trixie said...

I am so sorry, what a great loss. It is so tragic to have someone so vital and community minded taken so early and unexpectedly. Sigh... Prayers for the unexpected loss.

Cathy said...

Donna. I'm so sorry. Sorry for loss and injustice and answers that do not come. Still, we move forward in love.