Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

a few months ago, brooke mentioned that she read the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by harold kushner, and recommended it. i'm sure it's understandable that after a tragedy, people tend to look for the meaning behind it all. they try to comprehend why this terrible thing has happened to them. sometimes they turn there anger and blame toward others - their spouse, the daycare provider, etc. sometimes {as in my case}, they turn their anger and blame toward themselves and God. this book really helped me let go of a lot of that anger. it helped me understand that God isn't some genie granting wishes for some people - the most deserving one - but not others, like i previously thought. He doesn't sit up in heaven on a throne picking out whose child should live and whose should not.  He doesn't decide which family member should be killed in a car accident, and who should live. He just isn't like that. if it were up to him, i have to believe, everyone would live and that there would be no suffering or pain. but unfortunately for us {the ones suffering and in pain}, He does not grant wishes.

sometimes things just happen for no apparent reason. sometimes tragedies befall bad people {and i think this is what society would consider "karma"}, but unfortunately tragedies happen to good people too. i'd like to consider myself a good person. one that has had something incredibly tragic and unfair happen to them. and it happened, not because i sometimes have a "potty mouth." it happened not because i wasn't in church every sunday. because i was a little short with D one day, or because i didn't give enough of my income to charity. it happened because, well because sometimes terrible, unfair, unjust things happen. it's not a punishment for anything {even though it feels like a punishment for everything}. He didn't "give me this" because i am any stronger than anyone else. He didn't give me this because i handle tragedy better, or because He knew i would do something with my pain. He's not trying to test me as a person, or as a type-A planner. He's not trying to get his agenda/point across.

all of those things that i've been made to believe because of all of the platitudes people {my past self included} say are all wrong. you know, all of the "it's all part of His plan," "He gave you this for a reason," "He doesn't give you more than you can handle." all of those trite lines that are made to give some meaning to our pain and tragedy led me to believe that He was "giving" me all of this. it led me to a place where i was very angry at God. i mean, who wouldn't be angry at someone who purposely tries to see how much you can take before you snap? that's not what a loving, caring god would do. that is just downright cruel. and it wasn't until i read the book that i realized that all of those lines can really do more harm to grievers than good.

even though the book helped me to let go of most of those misplaced feelings {hey, it's going to take some time ok}, i'm still angry. but i'm more so angry at the situation rather than at God. and i'm able to concentrate on praying to God for comfort rather than asking for my "wishes" to be granted. i'm now able to ask him for strength to pick myself up after a disappointment. and for the most part, He has provided {and continues to provide} that. He has placed such wonderful people in my path. He has given me a group of women that understand the pain of losing a child, and who tirelessly help me not feel so alone, even at those moments when i try to alienate myself. yes, with my new understanding of my God, it's pretty easy for me to see that He is present and all around me. i no longer feel "picked on" or abandoned by Him. and i'm just so thankful that i stumbled on this book when i did.

**disclaimer: all opinions of God are mine and mine alone. you free to form your own opinion of the God you believe it.**


Dear Juju,
Today is your 10 month birthday. I'm missing you so very much. And I wish with all of my heart and soul that you were here with me. Life is still pretty difficult without you. But I'm fighting hard to make it. And I hope that with your help, I will. Please stay extra close to me for the next couple of days. I desperately need the extra love. I love you so much it hurts.


Tiffany said...

beautiful post mama. You write so well. Sending my love as always. <3 Juju

B. Wilson said...

Tiffany (and Brooke),

I also read the book. It was sent to me by my in-laws, and I also took from it similar thoughts. I am not receiving a punishment for past behavior and God isn't the one causing my pain, but is there to comfort me (though I feel less than comforted most of the time).

The trite remarks I also DO NOT believe are cop-outs. They are things people say to attach meaning to our suffering. I don't believe people actually can understand these remarks don't really work until they reach their bottom-- where we were knocked down to touch.

How do we do it? I assume many would say, "Because God doesn't give us more than we can handle" or whatever that means... but in reality, God didn't GIVE this to me. It just happened. And it's not that I feel I can handle this so much as not having a choice.

We have two choices: live, or die. Not very much choice in the matter.

And I agree-- still angry, but maybe not at God. I'm just angry my baby isn't here. The circumstance. The fact that I'll never get to see his eyes, see him laugh or feel his hug around my neck. I still feel cheated.

Tiffany said...

I might have to look into this book, thanks for sharing it. I totally agree that a lot of what people say to make us feel better, doesn't really at all. It makes us angry and feel guilty. The one I hate most is, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." To me, it makes God seems mean and calculating, and that's not how I want to view him. After all, our babies are with him. I wish others would try to understand how these comments impact us.

Dear Juju~
Happy Ten Month Birthday. Send your Mommy and Daddy a sign and let them feel you close to them. (And give my Peanut a hug from her Mama).
~Ellie's Mommy

Deanna said...

I have been meaning to read this book, working in a library you'd think I have lots of time to read. Answer is: is not so much, all I read are book reviews :) I may have to try and get my hands on it now though.

This is a beautiful post, and I agree with Ellie's mommy that God "giving" us this in life is mean and hurtful. He is not these things, or we certainly wouldn't want our children to be with Him now! I believe that it is because of Him we got time with our children at all.

Happy 10 month birthday to a sweet little boy, that even though I never met, I feel like he is part of my family!

Thinking of you all today, praying for peace knowing he will never be forgotten. Much love!

M4M4 said...

I agree. God gave me my boys, but not so he could take them away. He didnt give me their deaths. People die. Plain and simple, its just a matter of when. He didnt take our kids because he knew we could deal with it or make something of it, but he did give us the ability to move on and continue life beyond our hard times. Bad things happen, no discrimination there, ever. So glad you are part of my support system! Only a BLM can even have an inkling of what another BLM feels.

Rachel said...

I couldn't agree more! God is love...and I know He doesn't want bad things to happen to us. Praying you feel His love today...and everyday.

LauraJane said...

I love this interpretation of why this happened. Because the other words aren't comforting (though I'm guilty of using these phrases myself), and this is.

Thinking of your sweet boy today.

Becky said...

I have been told about this book, I just may have to read it now. I still have my days that I feel angry toward and just maybe this book will help. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how feel now after reading the book

Caroline said...

I have heard of this book def gonna look it up. Sending you lots of love and prayers
Thinking of your precious Juju.
Love you.

sarah said...

Thanks for this, aunt gave me this book probably three days after Otis died, and I remember trying to read it but it was like really I was just reading it and trying to find the part in the book that said I was going to get my baby back...and of course I never found that part. (Seemed everything I read in those first few weeks was in search of my baby...) It helps to read your take on it, because I (obviously) didn't understand any of it. I may pick it back up again.

Missing Juju alongside you as we mark his ten month birthday....

with love,

TanaLee Davis said...

Loving and quite a discovery of self and faith. Thank you for being so honest and real about your current mindset.

rebecca said...

Beautiful, incredibly well written post my friend. I agree people who say those things after tragedy obviously haven't really experienced deep loss and grief, if they had they would know how unhelpful those sayings are. I'm glad the book brought you some comfort and helped you to see things differently. Love you & thinking of you on Juju's 10 month birthday ((hugs))

Rhiannon said...

Like the others said, a beautiful post. I still get so annoyed at people who tell me that "it was a part of His plan" or "everything happens for a reason". It just infuriates me b/c I know that they have no clue what this type of loss feels like b/c if they did, they wouldn't say silly things like that! Thinking of you and sweet Juju always. <3 Hugs!!

Brooke said...

Yes--I am so glad you read it and I think you described it better than I did! I hate that we're in this terrible grief book club together but I'm also grateful that I'm not alone. Also when you mention me on your blog it makes me feel famous.

Remember Julius with you.

Brooke said...

That was supposed to be "Remembering Julius with you."

New Year Mum said...

That book has been recommended to me too... but I hadn't read it yet - you've inspired me to find a copy. It sounds like a very wise and comforting book and your words sound very peaceful after reading it... thank you for sharing xoxo

MrsH said...

I too have read the book and reached the same conclusion. It FEELS natural to believe that God is suffering with me and that He would never choose for my child to die. God is the one that gives us hope and other people's kindness and all the good things that help us survive the tragedies. I wrote a similar post to yours sometime at the beginning of my blog, called The question of God, I think it was the second post. I felt the same way and I still do. It is healthier for us to face the fact that bad things happen for no reason because any of the reasons that people give us are more damaging than the instability of not knowing what will happen next (since any other tragedy could happen as well).

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