Saturday, December 30, 2006

Reporting from Madrid...

Here I am at the home of Leticia and Eduardo and their precious son, Alvaro. I´ve held him and hugged him and fallen madly in love with him. I´ve walked around in the city I love more than any other in the world, visited an art exhibit of Sorolla and Sargent. I´ve done a little shopping. I am happy, very happy.

But I am also sad because directly across from where I stood three days ago waiting for the van to take me to my hotel in the parking lot of Terminal 4 of Madrid Barajas airport, there was a bomb this morning. It destroyed the entire four level parking garage. I stood right there, looking up at the building, watching people go to their cars with loved ones and their suitcases.

One man is missing and assumed to be dead, and a few others were injured. ETA, the terrorist group that has taken responsibility for the bombing, is in the habit of calling the authorities ahead of time to warn them about upcoming events. In this case, they called, but then the bomb exploded before the time they predicted. Incoming flights landed at the other terminals. Passengers already inside were sent out onto the runways to wait for further instructions. Flights are taking off now from that terminal, but it is very difficult for the passengers to get there as the parking deck has collapsed and the roadway in front of it is full of debris.

I stood right there.
Right there.
Admiring the new architecture - the terminal opened less one year ago, certainly less than two years.

I have been praying all day, reminding myself that ¨Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil - for Thou, O Lord my God, art with me.¨ I am not alone. He walks with me, in Charlotte, in Madrid, through airports and museums and shops and wherever else I go.

I pray for the families of the injured and for the family of the man who is presumed to have died there at the airport. I pray for all the passengers who arrived in Madrid and were greeted with this act of terrorism. Especially for those who were coming to Spain for the first time - I hate to think that they may never come to love this country as I have because of this terrible event.

But over and above all that, I continue to pray for peace.

With Saddam´s execution, I expect there will be increased acts of vengeful violence in Iraq - and perhaps even in the United States. I don´t even want to imagine what would happen in our country if our President were condemned to death and hanged within days of his trial.

Lord, have mercy on Iraq, on Spain, on the US, and on the whole world.
Lord, please let there be peace.
Let there be reconciliation and forgiveness.

It would appear that violence does not solve many problems.
I am beginning to believe that it causes more problems than it solves.

Kyrie Eleison.
Lord, have mercy.

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