Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Structure and Reason....Or Chaos and Chance? 1/31/2010

Age-old question, brought into prominence in my world
this past week as I see most of the members of my
community struggling to make sense of a horrible car
accident. The accident claimed two lives, including an
11 year-old girl.

So, is there a structured rationale behind our lives, with
every atom and molecule accounted for? Or is everything
random and chaotic, with attempts to interpret it via
limited comprehension resulting in a need for crutches
and easy answers?

Who's to say that either extreme is necessarily accurate?
Why not a world that is mixed with both random, meaning-
less occurrences as well as preordained

Maybe the application of either set of discordant lenses
or their middle-ground are assuming that there is either
pattern or significance to any of it. Think of the things you
felt were of importance 10 years ago; Do many of those
things still exist today? Are they relevant? What about
what you hold dear now? Does it really matter?

A stranger asked me my thoughts on the girl's death, not
really wanting to hear what I had to say. "Isn't this just
horrible? But don't you think she's in Heaven with God
right now?"

How do you answer such a thing?
First, my thinking--or anyone else's on the planet--is a
terribly moot point, especially now. What someone else
needs to do to reconcile this event in their mind should
have nothing to do with the opinions of other people.

Yes, a young person is lost; that is terrible for the people
who knew her. Death is horrible; it is the end of life, and
that's frightening for us. When someone young dies, we
are made all the more aware of our mortality, and of the
precariousness and fragility of life. That's what has hit
most people outside the immediate family.

There's also the reality that different people's lives do
matter more than others (in society's eyes, not reality.)
Simple fact of the road. Not condoning, not condemning.
This was a pretty, blond-haired, sweet little white girl
(by all accounts; I never met her) from a popular, well
off, large, popular local family. I doubt that the town would
be blanketed in supportive ribbons if a poor black child
with no extended family was killed in a horrible wreck....
or sick with a tragic disease and needed bone marrow or
blood. It's all about perspective.

(This is not a slam against this little girl; it's about how we
'value' lives. Hardly a person has said anything about
the older woman lost in the crash. Our thinking is such
that it isn't the same; she had lived a long life. Why do
we assume that a child is destined to have a long life?
Why do we dote on children so, only to abandon interest
in their lives and welfare when they reach an age where
they think for themselves?)

My heart goes out to the parents and other family. I
know grief is a terrible force. Grief is natural and normal,
but it can grow to be a demon that overtakes our life and
distances us from those that are still living.
Can keep us trapped in the past. Keep us focused on what
can no longer be, instead of what is. Young people dying is
a shock to our systems; it throws all of what we believe
and hope for to be ripped apart. As if it were a condemnation
or brutal payback for some prior bad act.

Life is hard. It's scary and rough and lonely. But Shit just
happens. Sometimes it's what we consider good shit....
sometimes bad shit. Sometimes it's just mediocre.
Sometimes, horrible shit happens. But it is still just life.
A hurricane doesn't have an agenda.
A child doesn't die to punish the child or the parent.
People don't get sick for past sins.
The moralizing and justification we apply to life
are a dangerous business.

We like to build up ideas to give the illusion of protecting
ourselves. Ideas like;
-A job is our lifelong career that will sustain us.
-A family member will always be around.
-A love or marriage relationship is indestructible.
-A house can withstand any storm.
-A schedule fills a day with meaning.

We use the constructs of time, communities, families,
beliefs, and more to distract us from the truths that
exist. That we're stronger than we are. That we're
permanent. That we're powerful. That we
are important in the scheme of things.

Was the shock of that young girl upsetting to you?
Really? Then what are you going to do besides wring
hands and gossip about it? Will you commit yourself
to being a better person, so that your life is not wasted?
...Will you volunteer to help people in need in the here
and now, rather than offer lip service to how pitiful
their situation is?
...Will you recognize that life is a precious gift that is not
a given or a constant?
...Will you show the people you care about how much
they mean to you, while you have the chance?
...Will you recognize that are no distinctions between
young and old, rich or poor, and that all life is valuable
and blessed?
I hope so.

I have heard people say that "Nothing happens in
God's world without reason or planning."
Really? If you ask about this, people usually get
very defensive. But I would like to know; if everything
in "God's world" is approved by God, that means that
every murdered child is approved? Every raped
child is prearranged? Every horrible incident is a part
of a plan?

So the response to that is that "Man has free will.
The bad things are not of God; they run counter to
His desires." So, why is that?

just bark :"God's will is not to be questioned!", hinting
that they might feel their will also shouldn't be

I truly mean no harm, though. I realize that the
insertion of a notion that "all is happening according
to a Master Plan" is something that allows many
people the comforts of sleep at night. It gives them
the strength to trudge on through tragedies, problems,
questions, or even the annoyance of jerks at work.

We all have different means of getting us through
the night. My assessment of yours as a 'crutch' doesn't
negate the positive impact that your beliefs
have on your life. I'm jealous of the serenity.

(To be fair, though; a majority expressing belief
in a concept or faith doesn't support that there is in
fact a rightness or support of said belief's tenants.
Sometimes the stray knows how to survive.
Personally, I'd rather people focused on making
'Heaven' in the here and now, where actual need
can be discerned. Rather than expecting and
anticipating a Netherworld of Hope in the afterlife.)

I feel like it's a strange mix, for us to be here on this
Big Blue Speck, hanging out killing each other, slandering
each other, forming committees to dethrone
each other...and then try and impose order on it all!
To try and make right, or make sense out of what
(for me) is clearly mostly senseless.

If we are to embrace the randomness and insanity
of things, why are we blessed with reasoning and
rational brains? The ability to question and explore?
Why do we not fully utilize that which sets us apart?
Why do we have such a tremendous
weapon and yet use it so incompletely and so rarely?

I don't profess to have all the answers. Don't even
claim that the ones I cling to are rock solid. But I
think that unless we are willing to explore and navigate
uncertainty, we will surely be consumed by it. I think
it's entirely possible to extract value and purpose from
even the most tragic of circumstances, but please don't
ask me to believe it was intended.

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