Oh no! This morning a seagull flew over my head and I felt a very large splat land on my bare arm. At first I was angry and then a bit amused, but most of all I wondered, “Why me?” Why should that seagull choose my arm and then fly away, laughing his raucous laugh? But then I wondered, “Why not me?” Why should these things happen to nameless others, why should I expect to be spared when others experience pain, why do I assume I should be kept safe when others have to endure hardship? Certainly Christ knew pain and suffering; his awareness in Gethsemane of the ordeal ahead is painfully apparent when He prayed and sweated drops of blood. I want to be a safe Christian, someone never tested or tried, someone whose religion is pleasant and comfortable. In my heart I want that seagull to find someone else, leave me untouched. Forgive me, Lord, when I see safety rather than the risk of a deepening relationship with you. Help me grow through all the experiences of life, and keep me aware that regardless of what happens, I am always in your presence. Amen.