Faith Only Way To Overcome Random Tragedy

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As a result of Tuesday’s tragic and appalling fatal fire, tremendous grief surely put a damper on many Thanksgiving celebrations last night.
While we did not personally know Rev. David Dingwall, we have learned a tremendous amount about him over the last couple days and it’s impossible not to feel a sense of tremendous loss.
How else can anyone feel? Dingwall was a husband, father, community leader, a volunteer, a recreational soccer coach and spiritual leader and advisor.
Along with that sense of loss, there is a great irony in this week’s fire, as there was a fire earlier this month on the St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church grounds that Dingwall addressed recently.
Resident Kelley Keyes Bjorkland shared with us this week a post by Dingwall about that fire and what it would mean for the church and its parishioners if it was worse than it turned out.
“Sometime last weekend there was a fire here at the church. From what we have learned from the police and the Fire Marshall’s office, it seems that someone set a fire in a plastic bucket … most likely in an attempt to keep warm on a cold November night. Unfortunately, they placed the bucket on the porch outside the office door and it burned a fairly large hole in the deck. The hole is less than a foot from the wooden wall of the old rectory … and we are extremely lucky that the entire building: offices, church and potentially even Dewees Hall, weren’t completely destroyed by fire.
“I know that we are all grateful that only minimal damage was done … but I want you to imagine that that is not what happened. Imagine that the flames from the bucket had set the wall on fire … that in short order the office building was completely engulfed in flames, that the church itself was consumed by fire and that by early last Sunday morning all that was left was the smoldering wreckage of what once was the campus of Saint Paul’s By-The-Sea. Can you imagine how you might feel?”
That message rings disturbingly familiar to what we saw this week and his words bring even more sentimentality into this emotionally-charged reality.
Dingwall was a man of God, obviously, but his charisma and eloquence with his message is what stood out to many this week and will not be forgotten by those fortunate enough to be married by him, have a loved one laid to rest by him, his church members and family and by many who didn’t know him.
The fact he was a “brother in Christ” as the Episcopal Diocese of Easton put it this week, makes his untimely and cruel death even more disturbing. The Bible reminds us often not to question God’s way, but there are times in particular heartache that it’s inevitable to wonder why and how. In other words, to question in the heart and mind how this could be so.
To remember, understand and accept all things happen for a reason under God’s will and his plan will help with the grieving in the long run, but in the meantime it’s okay to hurt and shed tears for this is a tremendous and unfair loss for the entire community. It’s a show of respect to the deceased and the life he led.
This week was a test of faith, no question, and Dingwall would be the first to remind us all we must continue to believe even in the darkest hours.

One comment on “Faith Only Way To Overcome Random Tragedy

  1. Steven -

    Thank you. You captured David perfectly. I knew him for 35 years, and I know he would have been proud of the words you wrote. Thank you for helping to comfort all the grieving hearts in Canada and the US.

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