This week I finished Sally Quinn’s memoir of faith called, “Finding Magic.” Quinn has led a fascinating life – the child of an army general, journalist and socialite in New York and DC, founding a website for the Washington Post on issues of faith, caring for a child with multiple physical and developmental complications, taking care of a husband, the famous Post editor Ben Bradlee, dying of Alzheimer’s. She’s had ample opportunity for herself and in conversation with others to engage life’s biggest and most important questions.
Sally and her mother stayed with family in Statesboro, Georgia, during World War II, and she remembers going to church, saying her prayers at night. Her father, a colonel in the army, had arrived in Dachau the day after liberation. He had a staff photographer with him and had begun to document the atrocities. Some he had put into scrapbooks he brought home with him, pictures of immense, unmentionable suffering in the concentration camps. Soon after, the family moved to Washington, and her father kept the scrapbooks in a small study off the living room. “I was four years old when I found them. They were in black cloth covers with strings holding them together. I don’t remember how many. No writing on them. No explanations. Just the pictures. That was enough.” The bodies. The death. She finally got up the courage to ask her mother, and later her father brought her in the study and they sat and looked at them together. After a bit, she writes, I asked him a last question. “Did God know about this?