This post from http://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.com/ really struck a cord with me – perhaps I have a similarity with her interpretation of the world (although I have not followed her long and I don’t know what her beliefs are in terms of, does God exist, if so what is the best way to know Him/Her, etc). These words just really rang true for me.
… I believe in the randomness of the world. This doesn’t mean I agree with it. It’s just the way the world works. It isn’t fair … …. And so when I see this randomness at work I don’t feel as angry, as aggrieved, as I used to. Yes, I feel sad that a child has to suffer. Yes, I feel angry that a child has to suffer. Yes, I abhor the behaviour of so many selfish or simply stupid parents who ruin/destroy/end the lives of their children. And even on a lesser scale, yes, I get frustrated at idiot parents raising a generation of adults who feel entitled, who can’t spell and think grammar is the old lady who buys them sweets, who think etiquette and manners are old-fashioned, and that being famous is the most important thing in the world. (OMG I sound old!)
But I don’t feel that strong emotion anymore, the need to scream against the utter injustice of it all, that feeling that I was being judged and found wanting and that that was the reason why I don’t have children. No, in fact, seeing idiot parents just confirms to me that in fact the opposite was true. I wasn’t judged and found wanting, anymore than they were judged and found worthy. It doesn’t work like that. Everything happens for a reason? Don’t ever tell me that! The world is random and unfair. I’ve learned to live with that.
When I was in my “does God exist or not, and if He does exist, how can He allow such terrible things to happen” part of my search, I found that the book “When bad things happen to good people” by Rabbi Kushner was so helpful. This post makes me think of the book(as I interpret it, anyway – maybe I should go back and re-read it, as I am sure to have an additional perspective now) – the book helped me come to a belief that God exists and is all-loving. Humans are created with the capacity to love, but also with free will. Decisions by ourselves, and other humans, have far reaching consequences and there are innocent bystanders. (e.g. how sperm counts have dropped in many parts of the world, which I personally think is related to pollution … and I suspect PCOS and endo might also be, though I have not seen studies for that).
With that free will comes the possibility that some humans can enact terrible harm to others – as well as the possibility that some humans can do incredibly loving, good things. But I still puzzle about this, in terms of what damages the soul irrevocably, and would that be allowed by God? Because I do believe that He is all-powerful, but that he has set out “the rules” of our universe and to interfere in them would be to negate the very premise of our world, and of us as created beings.
I suppose my view boils down to the laws of the universe – God set things rolling (the laws of physics, possibly the Big Bang, evolution, and all), and I feel that I have seen His fingerprints as I have studied science and the breathtaking connections and characteristics therein. (others may have this feeling when they are in nature, or when they see art or hear music that transports them.)
When we develop a relationship with God, our suffering helps us to grow, helps us to help others, and can gain meaning. But then, there is suffering that I can’t even truly imagine, and really that I recoil from imagining – yet that suffering occurs all over the world. And (as the post above mentions) I think it is, largely, random. It isn’t that the worthy are rescued and the unworthy left to their own devices. Perhaps you have more resources to survive, more intact than otherwise, if you have a faith that gives you roots. But you don’t get a pass to be excused from the suffering. And so much of what happens seems to come down to luck: where you were born, what the resources are for you (loving parents? financial stability?) etc.
I don’t believe God makes a policy of going in against the laws of physics to enact miracles, and that “A” is saved from a terrible disaster but not “B” due to merit. I do believe that opening up to the love of God, and praying to discover what path He is laying out for you, offering up your suffering and asking to learn from it, is a way to find Him, as well as love, peace and happiness.
Sometimes we might find out that we think we want something when it is just that we think we ought to want that – it’s the logical next step that everyone around us is taking. Sometimes we might find that we truly desire something but circumstances make it really difficult, or impossible, to attain that dream. What then? Can that desire be channeled into something else that gives us peace? Will there always be a kernel of sadness for not actually reaching what our heart originally longs for, even though we may be able to harness that energy and desire to something else that is good? I think that yes, that grief may always be there – we have been denied its fulfillment by a sinful world – I mean, a world where evil sways the thoughts of ourselves and others, and those actions and decisions can affect us even as innocent bystanders. And possibly we have been denied that fulfillment just through accidents of nature (randomness, of the non-evil variety).
I suppose, something that resonated with me in the post quoted above, is that I do believe that the world is random and unfair.
Here’s a poem that is also going through my mind right now … if you have read this far, thanks for putting up with the inspiration generated by 2 glasses of wine 🙂
[Margaret, Are You Grieving] by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.