I’m going to be repeating a bit from a previous post with this short entry, I expect, but what I’m feeling seems to be something familiar, just more acute as the surgery date gets closer and closer– a very deep sense of loss. That God is not God. That when I wrote the check for the surgeon to book the OR for that day in December, I was saying, in effect, “I no longer trust you to take care of this. I trusted you for too long and you’ve let me down. I’m doing this now. I’m taking charge. I’m in control. I’ll solve this problem.”
It’s good, of course, to take control of one’s life, to make one’s own decisions. I can’t go through life letting other people tell me what to do, or who to be, or how to be. But I hoped, I prayed for so many long long years and every day, every time I woke up or cried, another little part of me felt like it broke or died. And finally, I gave up. Enough was enough. God had let me down.
Maybe, you might say, God just fixed things so I’d have all that money so I could get surgery in the first place, but, and this is what gets me– those same people claim that God has some plan for this, some plan for my life. If my life is part of someone’s plan, then there’s going to be some explanation required. It’s cruel to plan a person’s life around this kind of pain. I don’t want to believe in a God that requires pain and suffering like this any more than I want to believe in a God who hates us so much that we’d be sent to hell for being as he made us.
I’ve made my own meaning out of this pain. This isn’t the result of God’s plan, this was my own effort to make something good out of what has happened to me. This blog is part of that– an effort to tell people about how this particular experience was for me. It would be different for others, but maybe, just maybe, someone, somewhere, would get something from it. Helping someone else in that same pain, or realizing that they’re not alone, or maybe helping someone understand what their loved one was going through– those were always my hopes for this place. In that, I think, this blog has been successful. I’ve met a few people that decided to use my Contact page and we’ve talked, exchanged stories, commiserated. I’ve become friends with more than a few people who stumbled upon me in this corner of the internet.
But for all the goodness that I’ve manufactured from this, there is a grief– a grief for the things I was told about God that I no longer believe, a grief for a life that I wanted to have and couldn’t, a grief for a substitute life that I tried living and couldn’t abide. There is grief for the things I believed that I now see to be lies. I invested so much time in that false hope, in that belief that I could be a man if I just prayed harder, or went to church one more time, or read my Bible just a bit more. It breaks my heart to think of all the life that has been stolen from this woman who has spent most of her adult life trying to be someone she is not.
I am moving forward, I am taking a very bold step forward, but there is a wreckage behind me and I weep for the lives within it. That is the legacy of my church. And I grieve for it.