Why do people question their faith when shit happens? Why do we get angry with our sources of comfort at the very time we need them–when we suffer?! Why does bad stuff even happen?
I have some friends who are struggling with serious health issues right now. We all know folks in similar circumstances, or suffer the same afflictions ourselves.
There are certainly times we think we have exhausted our “rope,” with little left to hang on to and life has seemingly left us hanging (out to dry).
The very people and sources we look to for answers and comfort often let us down.
The preachers and the clichés and the well-meaning friends do not always help. In fact, they often create or magnify the very struggles we encounter. To be honest, they are no help at best and disgustingly annoying at worst.
There is a lot of bullshit out there. And when shit happens, the last thing you need are some bullshit explanations or pat answers.
I think a lot of the stuff we, and others, struggle with are just really stupid ideas. Here are a few I have identified that perhaps you can identify with.
- First of all, shit happens. We live in a really messed up world where even good intentions often result in lousy situations.
- We have a great need for answers. And when we can’t find answers or struggle to make sense of senseless situations, we make up stuff. The human mind is outstandingly creative, and when given time and thought, can come up with all sorts of answers, whether they’re true or not.
- We buy into myths. That’s right, we believe all kinds of stuff in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. The problem is, these contrived solutions don’t always work in the long-term. In fact, they can come around to bite us on the rear.
- We buy into what academics call fantasy themes. When groups, like cultures or religions make up stuff, then collectively promote the myth, they are promoting fantasy themes. After awhile, no one in the group even recognizes where the myth came from or that it’s even a myth at all.
- We believe silly things about God and the world. We say stupid things like, “Everything happens for a reason,” “Whatever will be will be,” or “Where God closes a door, he opens a window.” Really? Is God your doorman?
- We have an insatiable need for certainty. We are uncomfortable with uncertainty, ambiguity and senselessness. Deep down we think answers exist for everything so can’t imagine that a black and white answer is not available for everything. In fact, we live in a really complicated world where knowing anything in full is almost impossible. Even to understand why two cars pass each other on a road at any given time would entail a deconstruction and understanding of the entire history of the universe. The truth is, because of the complexity of the world and our finite minds, it is impossible for us to fully understand anything.
So how can we respond to life’s struggles?
I find comfort in the thought that I can’t figure it out, I don’t need to figure it out, and that shit happens a lot in a broken world, and sometimes we’re in its path.
Royalty-free image by Edwin Pijpe; retrieved from: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/no-shit-1388624