Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the universe that does not give a damn and the resolution of loss

Horrible things have happened to me this year, and equally bad, or worse things have happened to other people I know. Chemical pregnancies. Miscarriages. Still births. I know of a couple whose two year old baby died, apparently, of SIDS. When such things happen, a lot of people can start losing another really important thing they possess, faith in a benevolent god. Luckily or unluckily, I've never had this to lose.

I regard religion as an institution created by man. Though I'll always be unsure as to whether 'god' exists or more to the point, how to define 'god',  I've always firmly rejected the view that such a supreme power is somebody made in man's image, who thinks like a man and hence experiences the same spectrum of same emotions we do.  I can say that I believe, confidently, that whatever 'god' is,  that entity is above emotions like benevolence or the opposite. Good things happen to people, bad-to-horrific-to-unimaginable things happen to a few and the wheel of life keeps spinning with universe/god not stopping to consider either the miracles or the tragedies. Entire species live and die, wars happen, genocide happens, people fall in love, heroic acts of selflessness occur, serial killers practice their craft, all while 'god' just lets the wheel spin.

But even if one is in agreement with such a philosophy (most people are not), how do you reconcile yourself to personal tragedy?  A line from a book I recently read stuck in my brain and is the inspiration for this post-- It went something like this 'Given enough time, does not every act of destruction ultimately turn into an act of creation?' Although this was a justification offered by the chief bad guy in the book, if you zoom out and look at chains of events over long periods of time, this could, in many cases, be true.

The horrible things that happen to us, like everything else, have butterfly effects- they set in motion a new chain of events, and if you wait long enough, something good might emerge from that new train of being. Then when you look at the good thing that happened to you (or somebody else), and weigh it against the tragedy that occurred before, what can you say?

Let me give the illustration of something I am personally involved with. I love my donor. He is open ID, and when you listen to his audio interview, you know that unlike the average sperm donor, he genuinely cares for any resulting children. His message to them is so darned nice and heartfelt. In his audio interview he states that he is a donor because of his wife- she cannot have children because she was in a car accident that damaged her ovaries and uterus.  He decided to donate because they could not have children, and today 3 children and 2 more on the way exist because of those donations. I've always been so struck by the fact that had that horrific, life-altering accident not happened to that poor woman, none of these babies would be. What can you say, really?

I've lost 2 babies, 2  precious promises that were never realized.  Even now, sometimes I wake up and cannot believe what has happened to me.  Other days I cannot  believe that I am so cursed so as to have to live through this while 95% of the population blithely sails through this process. Although I'm coping pretty well,  the sadness never goes away completely. But already, I can see the ripple effects of what happened to me starting up. God knows where they will lead, I'm just sitting here waiting. So yes, creation can be born from destruction, but when the destruction happens, words cannot begin to describe how awful it is.

I read something this morning that made me burst into tears and I'm so sad and angry...go here to express sympathy.


  1. I've had this post of yours open in my browser for what - five days now? I've not had much play time on the computer and I wanted to give it my full attention. I FINALLY get to read and just want to say - thank you! It is beautifully written and well worth the wait. It is very hard for me to imagine anything good happening from my big 'bad' but perhaps that perspective will come with time.

  2. Good post. I feel similarly about religion and have actually always felt lucky that I do. It helps with the whole being "punished" or "damned" thing. And I'd like to think that about destruction - creation. I'm not quite there, but I like the idea of it.