Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do children die, and genocides continue, and corrupt leaders remain in power? Why did any number of men walk out of my life and break my heart? Why do we have a president who doesn’t respect women (or science), and why am I so uncomfortable walking alone at night?
And louder than any other question that I’ve been asking has been why am I so goddamn lonely all the time?
I have spent the last couple years letting these questions occupy my mind with such ferocity that I forgot to listen for any semblance of an answer. My dialogue with God was mostly me shouting “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE” while I plugged my ears. I let the bad things that happened to me define what I believed about God. How could someone who loves me let such horrible things continue to punctuate my life? Worse, how could a God who loves me let such horrible things continue despite the attempts I was making to be closer to Him, to listen to Him, to gain His “favor”?
Eventually I gave up asking, and just started making decisions for myself. And…we all know how that usually goes am I right?. I threw myself aimlessly at anything that felt remotely like companionship, or belonging, or acceptance. I forgot my identity and started defining myself based on how others treated me. Everything was personal because I had no internal measurement of what was good about me. Whenever someone would let me down I would throw a temper tantrum and wonder why this KEEPS HAPPENING TO ME.
And then I got the flu.
The last couple days have been the loneliest that I have ever been…and I have been pretty lonely. Realizing that I had no one to turn to while I felt helpless was infuriating. I don’t typically like to feel helpless, and to know that I had to continue to rely on only myself became overwhelming very quickly. Then, being overwhelmed resulted in 1:00 AM emotional ramblings to anyone who would listen. But, out of those ramblings came some sort of wisdom that suggested I stop screaming and start listening. And, well, shit, what did I have to lose?
So I prayed.
Which was weird. And awkward. But I felt a little better. No answers, but I felt better.
Then, today, I was listening to worship music (because I was actually trying this whole God thing again…kind of), and a chorus echoed “You are good”. Initially I thought “yeah, good, good enough to let shitty things happen all the time”, but then I actually thought about it for a while. I started playing through what would happen if God didn’t let bad things happen. I started running through scenarios, open to the idea that He might be good and let bad things happen. Which brought me to the following:
What if God doesn’t actually want the bad things to happen? And, what if He is crying with us when they do? What if His hands are tied, just like our hands are tied to save the world, even though we can see the pain happening all around us?
The whole problem with expecting God to fix everything, is that He gave us this
stupid awesome thing called free will. If He got rid of all the bad stuff and saved us from everything, then what’s the point in being human? God’s not forcing anyone to hurt me, He isn’t forcing me to feel lonely, and He isn’t punishing me for being mad at Him. More than anything, I’m starting to believe he is sad when I am sad, and doing His best to remind me that He’s there. I’ve never felt more alone and more incapable then when I stopped talking to God, and questioned whether or not He was even there. When I sit and think about the fact that someone loves me unconditionally, and that they are sad when I am sad, there is a comfort in that.
This works for me. Or, at least, it’s currently working for me. I’m not sure what your safe thing is, or the thing that you can count on to be there. It might be God, it might not be God. Whatever it is, don’t let go of it. If it feels wrong to walk away, it probably is. Just make sure you don’t take that last statement out of context.
So that was my weekend/start of the week.