Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Day 78

Last night I was called out to a young couple whose six months old baby boy died.

What do you say to people you don’t know who had just experience the biggest trauma every parent pray will never happen to them.

What do you say?


I had nothing to say. I was completely at a loss for words.

They told me their story, of how there was a change of serious complications during pregnancy. The doctors advised abortion. But then Faith kicked in and a beautiful baby boy was born, healthy as can be. Two weeks ago they had him baptised, believing that God will take care of their child.

And yesterday they saw him die.

"What the fuck?" that's all I can think of saying right now.


harold said...

maybe we should allow god to turn this into something useful...

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be formed, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
-from A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

one day, god will take me on a flight to see the tapestry spun by all the events/thoughts/actions i brought to fruition. i can only hope to see how some of my personal tragedies, spun a road that led someone else to a rainbow.

Sheikh said...

We will never understand how other people feel? Why do people feel obliged to say things to try to make other feel better? Is it right to say nothing and just be there for them, let them talk if they want to talk? Weep with them, hold their hands? Nothing that you say will make them feel better, let God give them answers?

harold said...

i stumbled on to this last night:


He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

- from On Another's Sorrow by W. Blake

and i couldn't help remembering yesterdays post. the image is too powerful to pass for comment:
in our time of grief or sorrow we are inclined to ask 'why me lord? why did (you let) this happen to me?' (or something to that effect) while we forget that the lord is sitting next to us crying with us for our loss.

Sparky said...

Hi Harold. For me it is not that simple. It is one of those big questions that I simply cannot get a satisfying answer to. It is my biggest and most feared advisory: Not the old cliché of "bad things happening to good people", but "really, really bad things happening to God's children".

A crying God next to me gives me the sense of a 'not in control' God. Jesus I can understand - because he was also human and as human, had the full human experience, but God... now... crying... really...?

I don't understand why death has to happen to a healthy 6-month old baby, a little girl with terminal cancer that dies a horrific death or a baby that gets raped. The list is endless.

All the theology and all the clever quotes and explanations vanish. I then find myself standing at the brink of atheism where the logic of statistical chance and an evolving universe that expands and contracts makes more sense to me than a 'crying God' that understands my pain and suffering.

It is times like these that faith if an act of my will rather than empirical observation.

harold said...

S - this is my opinion and I respect yours:

your 'out of control god' is called free choice.

are you implying that god is, in some way, responsible for (through e.g. apathy or silence) ' death has to happen to a healthy 6-month old baby, a little girl with terminal cancer that dies a horrific death or a baby that gets raped. The list is endless.'? but on the same page you are using this free will to have faith and believe. dont you think that others use this free will to not believe and to commit these evils ? through this thinking you can hold god responsible for the good (your blind faith in him and all that sprout from that) and the bad (evil deeds). i dont think we see a spec of the good things that happen because the out of control god sent someone else to be in control at that point in time. these deeds are simply not reported on.

everybody deals with grief in their own way and for you it is different and not easy. and so it is the same for me. but having a limitless god that can limit itself to just cry with me and understand how i feel is worth believing in.

Sparky said...

Hi Harold.

I know the argument you presented quite well and you have articulated it nicely. Maybe the 'why' should not be directed to God, but to creation.

The essence of 'free will' breaks down immediately if we 'require' God to 'correct' every wrong. Why should God stop the murder, but not me when I think a bad thought of someone? Isn't both murder?

...maybe I've been a bit harsh. I just needed to hear that argument in a different way. Thank you naked poet :)

doc said...

I have been following the "Diaries..." for the past month or two. I found it entertaining, stimulating but above all I found it to be different, fresh and .... honest. And I suppose this is what brings me back to this blog.

Until I read Day 78..... In fact I read it again and again. It took me through various stages. This is what I would like to share with you.

At first I was so overwhelmed by the f... word that I wanted to click on "hate it" and leave....something stopped me.

I later read it again (I just could not understand such an angry outcry in the context of the blog). Strangely I began making excuses for the writer using such language. I am a qualified medical practioner. I lived these stories. I remember as if today the baby I delivered in some clinic years ago as medical student. Alive and well the one moment and just stopped breathing. Suction....ventilate...massage... intubation... struggling.. just so small. And then she stopped breathing. And yes...the thoughts for days and years afterwards.."what the F...."

Or perhaps the story of the 5 year old "mona lisa", my patient, miss personality, just so cute. Alsatian bite in the face(never bit anybody before. Scarred for life. The same why, the same "what the F...."

And so I reached stage 2 and thought: Of all people I should understand, we should forgive. Circumstances. Bad. Forgive. But still no tick!

But Sunday something struck home. I went to church and preacher Philip is about Jesus the rebel tonight. Going against that which was the norm in the Jewish religion. I walked out of the church and told a friend. For close on 48 years I attended conventional church. The "what you must and must not do church" I could call it. Of church in that 48 years I remember the jokes in the Sunday school class, my wedding the funeral of my father and the christening of my children. Oh, and the years we started the gospel band. That was fun! But the rest was absolute hypocrisy. Nothing necessarily to do with the church understand. I just could not feed my soul, because I could not believe this "story". This soup we were fed.

Then I became involved in a community of doubtful believers, and suddenly I could say and not be shamed. I simply encountered.....honesty.

As I walked out of the church I realised that after 2 years within this community, I never once left a service(I can remember)that I did not feel fulfilled after attending a service.(Well maybe once). And I wondered why this was so. What is so different?

This morning I stood under the shower and it dawned on me. Honesty. Its honesty. When its "What the f..." Its "What the fuck". And I could never do it I might ad!(Although I just did) Because in my mind I am still so scared of what, my friends, my wife, my church might think. To be honest to such a level, knowing that such language must potentially cause problems, certainly must make HIM smile. In fact he probably says: "You go man". Because this religion I can understand. Honesty I will always find attractive.

It reminds me so much of another extremely honest Revolutionary!

And so, you will see, from today, there is one more tick for day 78...."I love it" But please....

Try not to use the F word again!(I have a tongue dangling in the left cheak!)