Sunday, February 14, 2010

Where did all thIS come from?

I recently read a book that was titled When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. I figured it was pretty fitting with all the things that had happened to our princess, and then in turn to us as a family.

I'm not sure what I was expecting out of reading this book, or how the author's view holds true to that of the Bible, but it brought me comfort...something so many of us need when we are faced with life's tragedies. That's all we really need when the unwelcome things in life strike...comfort and questions asked.

Note: my personal comments will be in purple and the author's words will be italicized.

In part of the book the author talks about the story of Job and how his friends had come to visit and comfort him. They didn't exactly offer much for least not in Job's mind. They judged him and told him that he must have done something wrong and told him that he shouldn't cry and complain so much.

Umm..this doesn't exactly sound like the support that anyone needs. They genuinely believed they were helping him, but they were really just causing him more pain and anguish.

He wanted them to tell him that he was in fact a good person, and that the things that were happening to him were terribly tragic and unfair.

It is hard to know what to say to a person who has been struck by tragedy, but it is easier to know what not to say. Anything critical of the mourner ("Don't take it so hard," "Try to hold back your tears, you're upsetting people") is wrong.

When you are going through something so tragic, so painful... those tears and emotions are yours and no one can take that from you. You have the right to feel, to grieve.

The last thing in the world he needed was to be told that what he was doing was wrong. Whether criticisms were about the way he was grieving or about what he had done to deserve such a fate, their effect was that of rubbing salt into an open wound. Job needed sympathy more than he needed advice..."

I love that last quote...Job needed sympathy more than he needed advice.

Onto another part in the book.

As the author was beginning to write his book he was deliberating about what he wanted the book to say to people when they experience something so tragic in their lives. You see the author had a son named Aaron and they noticed he just wasn't growing the way he should and that his features were small. After some doctor visits he and his wife came to learn that Aaron had progeria and wouldn't be like everyone else and we wouldn't' live long. He died when he was just 15.

So this book isn't just the opinion and beliefs of one man, but of a man who lost a child and suffered a great so many others. Here is what he thought his book should say:

It would have to say that no one ever promised us a life free from pain and disappointment. The most anyone promised us was that we would not be alone in our pain, and that we would be able to draw upon a source outside ourselves for strength and courage we would need to survive life's tragedies and life's unfairness.

How his experiences and the loss of his son have forever changed his life:

I am a more sensitive person, a more effective pastor, a more sympathetic counselor because of Aaron's life and death than I would have ever been without it.

I have noticed that I too have become more sensitive to pretty much everything and so many things have a greater meaning to me. The littlest things that so many take for granted are what I hold close. I feel so much safer when it is just the 3 of us, because we know and understand the things we have been through better than anyone who has not been there, and not tried to fully understand it.

So yeah, I'm still working on trying to let go of that safety net, but it is Very difficult because of that heightened sensitivity factor that I've can't blame me for that and if you do well, then maybe you can join Job's friends that like to judge and tell him not to be so emotional.

Back to the book. The author points out how so many of us blame God for making these things happen to us, and then forcing us to ask ourselves "what did I do to deserve this?" This is where I like what the author has to say about all of that and how it has helped me cope.

He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom.

God does not cause our misfortunes. Some are caused by bad luck, some are caused by bad people, and some are simply an inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible natural laws. The painful things that happen to us are not punishments for our misbehavior, nor are they in any way part of some grand design on God's part. Because the tragedy is not God's will, we need not feel hurt or betrayed by God when tragedy strikes. We can turn to Him for help in overcoming it, precisely because we can tell ourselves that God is outraged by it as we are.

So maybe the author just tried to find a way to make himself feel better about all the pain that he has endured in his what, isn't that a good thing? I mean shouldn't we try to find ways to cope and get through the worst times in our life...I sure think so. I think it makes sense makes sense to me and gets me through things when I stop to think where all thIS came from.

"Does that mean my suffering has no meaning?"

We could bear nearly any pain or disappointment if we thought there was a reason behind it, a purpose to it.

We find life's disasters upsetting not only because they are painful but because they are exceptional.

It is so much easier to deal with things when we know the reason behind it all, or if we suspected that it were going to happen. Kind of like cause and do this and then this is the result. The unknown is the most difficult to accept and handle. We all want answers...answers that we can accept and can make sense of.

I really like this next part.

When you are standing very close to a large object, all you can see is the object. Only by stepping back from it can you also see the rest of its setting around it. When we are stunned by some tragedy, we can only see and feel the tragedy in the context of a whole life and a whole world.

There is so much truth in that. Another truth is the fact that often it takes a long time to be able to step back from the object and see the whole picture, and there are also moments where you step even closer to the object and have to begin again. That is just part of it all...part of what we go through, what others may not fully know or understand, or even want to be around because the process can go on for what seems like forever. We may never fully see what is beyond the object and the picture, because you can't forget that object, especially when it holds so much of where you have been and who you are now.

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