Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Small C Part V - Why Do Bad Things Happen?

The Small C Part V - Why Do Bad Things Happen?

The first thing a person who has been dealt with the news that he or she has cancer does is to ask the question why.  I am not talking about the physical cause but something more in the line of,  "Why God did this happen to me?" or just plainly "Why me?"

I always considered God a non judgemental God not the one that I grew up with who I conceived was there to watch your every move ready to reprimand or even punish you when you did any bad thing.  Somehow through the years I began to understand God as a being who unconditionally loved me as I went along life doing sometimes outrageous stuff to say the least. 

When my daughter found out many years ago she had a cyst on her pancreas, which fortunately turned out to be benign, she immediately cried and got scared that it was because God was punishing her for not going to Mass the Sunday before she heard the terrifying news.   I assured her God did not work in that manner.  (How I wished sometimes that I had told her He did since it might have frightened her to go to Mass on Sundays which she had not done conscientiously lately). 

When I found out about my cancer I emailed my former classmates in high school to pray for me.  A prayer brigade was formed by Paeng who coordinated our group.  I received a well thought out and beautifully written email message from him which was in both English and Tagalog.  The last paragraph of the message ended this way:  (the Tagalog portions were translated by myself).

You were given, Ondes (Note: my childhood nickname), this affliction by God because He wants to direct your soul and mind away from work and material things since He desires to give you long lasting healing -- part of His soul wellness program.  He wants to secure for you eternal life with Him.

I felt really perturbed by this part of his message and misunderstood it to mean that I had been too ambitious with my life thus being nudged by God to slow down.   In retrospect was I going back to the God of my childhood - the judgemental God which I thought I had gotten rid off or was what Paeng saying true?

I thank the Lord that I went back to the image of a loving patient God despite the initial feeling of guilt and confusion brought about by my misinterpretation of my friend's message.  During our last prayer meeting at Sue's house, Natalie mentioned that I have changed quite a bit from four years ago.  I dread to imagine how I was then.  Could the cancer been a means by God for me to "open up" as Mark Nepo referred to as a significant result of when "bad things" occur in our lives?

That said I really do not have the answer to the theological question "Why,  God?"  I do want to share a favorite quote I heard frequently from our past pastor, Fr. Tom, that I find consoling and had appeased my complicated mind as I figure out life's questions.  I incorporated it into a scene of a beach to form something that can be used as a bookmark.

Perhaps that is the answer. 

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