A good friend, an intelligent man I respect, asked me today how I could still have faith in God after all my wife and I have been through. He said that he admired how strong I was in my faith, even though he doesn’t identify himself as “religious.”
I answered him quickly with a response intended more to deflect than to inform. I said, “What else you got? I’m listening,” but in my heart, I was asking, “What else is there? When hope is stretched so thin, where is there left to turn?”
Truth be told, I’ve always identified myself as a Christian. I’ve not tried being a druid, or a Scientologist, or even a Libertarian. Seriously, the tradition in my family for an unknown number of generations is Christian. The question that bothered me for the rest of the day after my friend asked his sincere question was, “Is that all it takes to be a believer, a believer in any religion?”
Family traditions aside, I cannot prove to you that God exists any more than I can prove that man has walked on the moon. I have not prayed to NASA, but I have spent more than my fair share of time asking God for mercy on my wife’s physical and emotional condition since cancer has intruded on our lives. It’s ironic that I can prove the existence of cancer and suffering, but I cannot prove to anyone on earth that God exists, or that He cares about my little family and the mortal combat we find ourselves in.
Yes, we’ve had moments where we’ve beaten the odds and I’ve credited THE higher power, and yes, there have been moments where I was just so grateful that my wife could smile again that I thanked a God I could neither see nor hear. Many intelligent people would say that my efforts were based on superstition, not fact. Others I know would say that my thanks were an act of faith, not the result of a cause and effect observation that resulted in a selfish outcome.
Honestly, I cannot prove anything to anyone about anything over these last challenging months. In my heart, I still believe good people such as my wife do not deserve the curse of cancer and the indignities that accompany it, while others who live selfish lives of undeserving rewards thrive. Even if there was no “Golden Rule,” common cosmic courtesy says that watching your spouse die slowly is not a fate that people who have demonstrated their caring for others deserve.
Would it surprise you that I have been studying the book of Job lately? Job was crushed by physical and material losses that would take any reasonable person to the edge of belief in anything. That place has been our address for over a year.
Job finally got the satisfaction of speaking directly to God and getting answers, not to mention his loses returned to him double.
I would be satisfied if we could stop the losses and make a life from the remnants, a life of ability for her in total disregard of what she has lost. I would be elated if we could live a humble, secure life to the end of our days together, a life unthreatened daily by a disease inherited from genetics, much like the religion that was passed to us by tradition.
The result is life is not fair, and that you make the best from what you’re given. In our case, we are trying to make the best of what is left after dramatic surgeries and brutal chemotherapy. Heroic poems will not be written, neither will music be inspired by our struggle. Seriously, we will pass over the horizon unnoticed regardless of how heroically we fought. The book of “Bob and Carole” will never overshadow the “Book of Job,” in spite of the similarities.
C’est la vie.Tweet