Why bad things happen

“If there was a God, he wouldn’t let this happen”.

First off, what makes you think God is male? Is it not the greatest indicator of ego centrism (and sexism) to determine the creator of all that exists must fit our belief that all beings must be either male or female, and the great architect would have to be male?

The fact such a question is asked is the greatest indicator that the person asking the question is incapable of understanding the answer.

Are they asking why humans die? Well, you’ve got a choice, if you want to reproduce, you have to die. Unless you have infinite space to house all the generations of your species. We die, and we don’t know when we will die. Would you really want to know? At what point would you start saying “This is the last time I’ll do this”? How much of your life would be wasted mourning its loss?

I’ve recently become aware of a study which indicates people with Multiple Sclerosis may have a life expectancy of six years less than people without Multiple Sclerosis. What does that mean? I’ll be six years younger than all the other people around me when lightning strikes?

We all die. There is no avoiding it. The only blessing we have to make it easier is that there is absolutely nothing we could have done to avoid dying. There’s the looking both ways before walking into traffic things, but when it is your time, it is your time.

I think of John Heinz’s death. My second wife worked near where his crash took place. She had stepped out for a cigarette and saw the two aircraft, and heard the crash, her supervisor had children at the school the wreckage fell on. That evening we watched Peter Jennings on the evening news. He finished a story with the sarcastic ad lib “Which is about as likely as having a plane fall out of the sky on you”.

The next story was about John Heinz’s helicopter and the plane it collided with crashing into a schoolyard full of children.

Jennings was fairly pale to start with, when the camera came back to him he was a whiter shade. I laughed.

Like someone slipping on a banana peel, his gaffe outshone the images they couldn’t show on television. Laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes it’s the only medicine.

In the fifth chapter of Matthew, verse 45, Jesus says “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust“. We’re all treated equally.

Fear of death is more often the fear of another’s death, the loss of companionship. We recognize our own mortality, but don’t like the way it looks on others. We know we can handle the loss of our own life, but feel sadness for our friends faced with the same loss. Why do we do this? We say “She’s in a better place”, or “He won’t suffer anymore” in the midst of our own suffering.

I can only speak from my own experience. When the doctors acknowledged they could not do anything else for Emma and assigned her to palliative care, I didn’t want her to come home on the 4 July weekend because I was worried about readmitting her to the hospital if she took a turn for the worse. She couldn’t get any worse. She was going home to die, there would be no return to the hospital. Everyone knew that but me. I’m sure Emma knew she wouldn’t be running in the tall grass again, she just wanted to be home, in her own bed, with her cat. She lived up until she died. She did not give up and live a breathing death, she was alive every moment. She had mourned other losses in her life and wasn’t about to mourn her own, that was my job.

I think the entire experience gave me new perspectives, altered my way of viewing the universe. That, I believe, is why “bad” things happen. Those of us who survive are supposed to learn and share the lesson.

Here’s what I learned. Life is for living, there will be plenty of time to be dead later. Bad things don’t happen to me, they happen to the world, I just happen to be nearby.

People who ask “why does God allow suffering” sound to me like spoiled children complaining about eating vegetables. The process of life is far more complicated than the immediate desires of the individual. We are given the opportunity to grow from all of our experiences, and should find a way to be thankful for each of them.



4 comments on “Why bad things happen

  1. fruus says:

    Good read! you should post this on writement.com


  2. Mike Reith says:

    Genesis 3. Says it all.


  3. Yeah, sometimes it’s a little hard to feel thankful when bad things happen though, learning experience or not…


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