Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When Good Things Happen to Good People...

It’s been nearly three weeks since that day on Danny’s first field trip when an accident happened that could have turned out very badly (but thank goodness didn’t).

The great news is that Danny seems fine both physically and mentally.  I, on the other hand, have been having a harder time I will admit.

I tend to process my feelings by talking and writing about them, so here is a bit of my thinking from an e-mail conversation I had with my friend Amy recently.

“I keep coming back to a fundamental question of the strength of my faith. My son was spared a horrible fate-horrific injuries or even death. So I am beyond grateful. Understandable. My faith is renewed right?

But what if he had suffered terribly or died? I cannot really imagine finding that same renewal of faith. In fact, quite the opposite.

So what kind of a Christian does this make me? A fair weather fan of God? I never thought I could ever doubt all that God has done in my life was anything but his (or her) wise and benevolent plan for me to learn and grow and love him or her more.

So can you really love God more than you love your dear child who, after all, is a gift from God? And if you don't think that is possible, do you really love God at all? Maybe I'm just too black and white about this all but there it is.

You know I keep thinking back on an experience I had in Peace Corps lo those many years ago. An evangelical group came to the town near where I lived and a young American couple told the story of how their baby had been so sick, but now he was healed. This experience had made them so dizzy with delight, that they were “born again” and dedicating their lives to going to revivals like this to spread the good news.

And yet even then I couldn't stop thinking “but what if your baby had died?" How can you tie all of your faith into that stroke of luck (or divine providence?) that your baby was now thriving and not writhing?

So I think I've had this sort of seed of uncertainty in me for a long time regarding anyone who seemed too zealous. Too "faith-filled" I guess. It just seems so conditional. I know the word evangelize has the word “angel” in the middle and I like to think angels were with Danny and me in that moment. But that's a whole other stream of thought.

I also do understand that this pain that I am every so grateful to have avoided (Danny’s possible agony) is exactly the same pain that God asked his beloved son to suffer for us. I used to think more about Jesus' unbelievably courageous decision to accept his father's will, but today I'm asking "what kind of a parent does that?" So yes. I'm feeling angry at God. Maybe not angry. Confused and troubled.

But I know that God still loves me and my family. I just want to be able to love back in that same way at all times.

What's life without a periodic crisis of faith after all, right? Don't worry, I'll find my peace. Just have to keep thinking about this.”

Amy of course wrote me some wonderful and wise thoughts, and she along with Susanne and others have helped me slowly reframe my thinking. And it is getting better. Slowly but surely. -M

No comments: