It is easy to reduce world events to numbers and story lines. Earthquake in Iran. Sanctions. 300 casualties. 6.4 Richter.
Every once in a while, there is an image that leads us to pause, and reflect.
There are gruesome images of this disaster, but I speak not of them.
There are heart-shattering images of parents pulling out their babies from under the rubbles, and I will not go to them here.
No, the image that got to me, and has had me simultaneously moved, inspired, and weeping is this one.
It is an image of one little girl who survived the earth quake, and went through the rubbles and found the one possession that apparently meant so much to her: her little transistor radio.
Here she stands, a little child of maybe 5 or 6, smiling, when there is tragedy all around her.
My own response not to the image, but to her, is mixed.
I marvel at the resiliency of the human spirit, finding joy in the midst of despair.
I am moved and inspired by this little girl, for her strength, for being able to smile. I applaud her for choosing life, when others might have caved in to self-loathing.
And I weep for her, and her people, knowing that they are victims of two stubborn, misguided governments that instead of reaching out to one another, close doors of communication.
And I weep for us, we who pursue things, seeking value in them. I weep for us who have a craving in our own hearts that we try to fill with things.
This little girl remains for me a model of strength, of resistance, of life over and around death.
May God bless her. May we be citizens of a world worthy of sharing this life with her, and millions more like her. May we find meaning in our connection to one another.
The image is from Mehr News of Iran.