Friday, April 14, 2006

What's so good about it?

I went to my old church for the Good Friday service this afternoon. My Dad asked if I would sing with the choir over Easter weekend, and because he's my Daddy (and also the choir director) I just couldn't refuse.

But I have to tell you, the experience certainly reinforced the fact that God and I still have a lot of work to do on our relationship.

Instead of feeling peaceful and contemplative after the service (which I have traditionally always found very moving and spiritually fulfilling) I was seething with anger. I walked in the door and exploded when I got home.

My poor Beloved stood in the kitchen mixing up the egg salad for our sandwiches (yes, I went meatless even though I'm mad at God) and listened to me rant and rave at the God he's always known me to have great affection for. Historically, anyway.

After patiently listening to my tortured rant, My Beloved reluctantly offered his take on things. And, as always, I think he hit the nail on the head. He said I feel abandoned by God. Although I hadn't thought of it in exactly that way, he's absolutely correct. God left me in my hour of need. He chose not to answer my frantic prayers. He let my son die.

And I have no idea why.

If I just knew that - if I just knew why Thomas had to die I could come to terms with God's decision and move on, confident that I understood the plan and Thomas' place in it.

But I don't - I still don't understand any of this, and I feel like God has wandered off somewhere and left me twisting in the wind. I'm lost and so far he's doing a lousy job at finding me.

I'm not totally sure what else to do, to be quite honest. I've prayed, I've begged for help, I keep going to Mass - I'm searching like a madwomen, but all I hear is silence.

That can't be right, can it? It's a lousy system if it is, that's for sure.

Maybe I don't have the spiritual depth I thought I had. I used to wonder how people who once proclaimed to have strong faith could have that faith shaken so violently by the trials of life. It was so simple to me - you just look to God for help. Cling to your faith and draw strength from it. Turning away from God made no sense to me.

Until now. Because now I realize that it's not so much that you turn away, it's that you can't find what you've been struggling so hard to turn to.

No matter how hard I try, I can't find the comfort I want or the answers I so desperately need. I know there's a God - it's just that he's not who I thought he was.

But then maybe I'm not who he thought I was either.


Bronwyn said...

Oh sweetie, nothing like religious holidays to bring all of the big questions to the forefront, eh? Not having any real religious faith myself, I don't have any words of wisdom for you, but I do hope that you don't have to founder in the darkness for much longer. You have a great source of earthly support in your Beloved, which is something to cling to while you try to figure everything out. (((Big hug)))

kate said...

(((((((hugs))))))) I did go back to the church after Nicolas died, mostly because i needed the assurance of an afterlife -- to know that i would see my boy again. Because otherwise it would just be too bewildering to go on. I do find a great deal of comfort in the church now, though i do not find any answers to these questions you pose. I have come to accept, over the years, that the answers are not available to us in this life. There are nothing but paradoxes available for us, in this life.

My faith, such as it is, is a tenuous one. I do believe that God chooses not to intervene for us, chooses to let our children die. This is a hard notion to reconcile, on any level, with a loving God who sends his OWN son to die for us. But you know, in math -- Zeno's paradox makes no sense, until you understand the notion of infinity, which takes some work and some maturity. But it *does* make sense, once you undestand some calculus. So it is my hope that these questions of ours are the same way -- the reason they make no sense to us, is because we lack some key piece of understanding. And i guess my hope, my faith, is that that piece of understanding will come to us after death, and our missing babies too.

delphi said...

Now that I understand what earth shattering trauma does to the soul, I have begun to believe that those people who are able to skip prayerfully along their merry way without question are fooling themselves. Your post made me go back to the Book of Job last night. Job didn't exactly curse at God (that would have ruined the story), but he certainly asked questions that got to the heart of the matter. Then, take a look at some of the Psalms. Lots of questioning there, too.

Redefining our relationship with God after he was unwilling/unable to protect us from the worst of hurts is an ugly process. I have, in no way completed that process - work in progress. And I think it will be for a long, long time.