With the Point of a Nail

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I walked through the yard where they were collecting the bodies of those killed by the typhoon. They bring them in on trucks, collecting them from out of treetops along the beach, rubble piles in the city, drowned vehicles along the street. A body bag hides a lot about the person it contains, but it cannot hide the size. One old lady was swelled up so huge they couldn’t zip the bag, so they left her with the bag closed to her waist, one arm stiffened over her face, like she was trying to block out the sun.

One body bag had a pair of business shoes sticking out of a rip in the corner.

One body bag had only a single lump in it. A two foot lump in a six foot bag.

The juices oozed out of them and ran across the cobblestones. You cannot get sick from the smell. Death is not contagious.

Only two feet long.

They only had a few trucks left running. They needed them to haul bodies. They needed them to deliver food. So they used the same trucks to do both. Fortunately a weird, twitchy, ex-Pat guy who owns a pest control business donated his time, equipment and 300 gallons of boric acid to spraying out the trucks between uses.

They wanted him to spray down the cadavers at first. He told them it was a waste of time. Save the chemicals to protect the living.

Another lump was just about four feet long.

They do not have time to identify them. At first a few were found and identified by relatives, but by now the decomposition is too advanced. The National Bureau of Investigation is burying them deep in a mass grave, in single file lines, with layers of lime and dirt between each layer of bodies. Later, if they get the orders they may exhume them and forensically identify them.

I think the mother of that tiny lump would want to know.

Do you know how hard it is to get cadaver smell out of your clothes?

I asked God, why?

I think He means us to ask. I think He wants us to challenge Him for an answer. If we do not seek to know His mind can we really have any part in Him.

His answer came back like a fragment of a line of verse: “They died as they had lived, in the palm of my hand. Their mass grave was dug with the point of a nail.”

Ryan Kraeger

Ryan Kraeger

Ryan Kraeger is a cradle Catholic homeschool graduate, who has served in the Army as a Combat Engineer and as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant. He now lives with his wife Kathleen and their two daughters near Tacoma, WA and is going to school to become a Physician's Assistant. He enjoys reading, thinking, and conversation, the making and eating of gourmet pizza, shooting and martial arts, and the occasional dark beer. His website is The Man Who Would Be Knight.

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3 Responses

    1. James, the article isn’t from the perspective of a material world, but a Catholic seeking understanding from his God. We need to see the world with Catholic eyes.

      1. Cradle catholic with 12 years of parochial education. You need to
        see another valid reality – thats why JPII put the statue of Buddah
        on the altar at Asissi.

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