Thursday, August 04, 2005

An Interesting Thought Hit Me

"Christianity does not explain suffering; it shows us what to do with it." -- Baron Von Hugel

Recently I've been struggling. You name it I have been having problems with it. Today, upon waking, I felt the old horrible familiar oppression hit me and I was at a loss as to what to do with it, or for it. As usual, I began writing in my journal (the paper one), and pouring out all of my fears, the sorrow, the over-whelming feelings, and sought to try and figure out how to get my head, life, heart, spirit, you name it, back into some semblance of an order.

In the midst of the writing I realized I had said I was a Christian. The old Protestant training blared out in bold screaming words, "But if you were being a good Christian you wouldn't be having these problems!" That's when I stopped writing in my journal and actually started thinking about this.

IF I was a good Christian, was there really supposed to be no bad days, no pains and problems? I have rheumatoid arthritis. I hurt every day. Some Protestants have said I wasn't a good Christian or I would be healed. My husband and I are struggling to make ends meet, and there isn't a more devoted and devout man than my B, so why are we having problems with money? Is it me? And finally, I looked inside at my own turmoil and wondered what I had done to make all of this come about. What had I done to make me not be the "good Christian" I always wanted to be; was this what was causing me such mental and emotional anguish?

Then I thought about all of the people I know who are struggling to make it in their careers, their dreams, and in their personal lives and inside themselves. They ARE Christians in my eyes, so what was going on with them?

Yeah, I know, sometimes I'm quite blond, but I don't believe I'm dumb.

I picked up my Bible and began reading it. All through it there was turmoil, hardship, even some depression the prophets and apostles went through, even Christ Himself. If Christ, being fully human and fully God, went through these times, what made me so damn special? I wasn't. I'm not.

In seeing I am really not all that different from other people, from the Saints themselves, I can honestly say I looked at myself in a different light and all of the other problems I've been going through settled themselves. The deep dark abyss that seemed to threaten me with every ounce of malice it could muster receded a little. Oh, it's there, it's waiting and it will try and wash over me again, but, for now, I am doing better. I can make it through today, and if all goes well I will make it through tomorrow, but before tackling tomorrow, I'm going to do exactly what I did today: I am going to write about it, fix all of the negatives and positives, the tasks and the dreams, and I am going to turn to the Bible and to my prayer book, because I'm not going to make it without them through this tempestuous sea of life any more.

Yes, the medication I had helped beyond measure to keep back the dark abyss, but we can't afford it any more. Thank goodness God is free monetarily wise, it just means I have to practice what I think now, and I am trusting I will do that (even though I may stumble through the days at points).

Why write about this here? Why not? Isn't it good when you run across someone that honestly says, "Hey, I'm going through some tough shit, but I think maybe I've figured out something?" Sometimes it is good to know other people go through this stuff, too, and sometimes it is good to read about it.

No, I'm not preaching, Heaven forbid! I think maybe, just maybe, I have hit upon something that will help me out of the void into the place I was before. I can also hear Marx saying, "Religion is the opiate of the people." My answer? If people don't have something bigger than themselves to turn to, true happiness can't be found, or striven for. There are far too many problems we have to face as is, why try and take away something that is inherent in the human make up: belief. We have believed in something our entire history. We have been reaching out for something more, trying to reconnect with something we lost throughout history. You cannot stop people from believing. You cannot stop people, humanity from looking for something bigger than them to help them through their lives. It has always been, and it will always be, until we meet God face to face with fear and trembling. Personally, I'd like a few more good works and happinesses down here first before meeting Him. I would like to say I have survived life with my faith, my belief in tact, than to wonder on my death bed if I missed something vital. Who knows, maybe that will happen any way, but maybe, just maybe it won't. And maybe, just maybe, I can make it through today without having a semi-nervous-breakdown.

1 comment:

Draconid said...

Hi, this is Draconid from over on LJ.

As you've probably read in my journal, I no longer really consider myself Christian. However, I know what a good Christian is and there is absolutely nothing that suggests you are a bad Christian.

Since when was a Christian meant to be perfect?

Jesus welcomed whores and tax collectors into his flock. They loved him and that was the important thing.

I heard an interesting thing on the radio the other night. They were talking to a priest (an Anglican priest, so technically protestant) who was giving away sermons for free on the Internet. Anyway, he gave an example of something he might say in his sermons. He was saying how Abraham and Jacob were far from perfect. He mentioned how Jacob had run away from home, gotten himself two wives (because he didn't want the first ugly wife), and finally came home with his tail between his legs. But anyway, the point was, two of the most famous prophets in the bible were far from being model human beings.

I'm not sure what the definition of a "good" Christian really should be. But I think the important thing is that if you love God, and you are loving and kind, then you can't be far wrong.