I am constantly searching for the meaning in things. When something happens I want to know why. While this inquisitive attitude has certainly served me well in my chosen profession, it doesn’t help when I or someone I love is faced with tragedy. So many people near and dear to me have found themselves lately asking, “WHY?” The fixer in me wants to offer them answers. My thinking is that if I can help them solve this they will feel better. But sometimes there are no answers that you can come up with that can make it better.
“Why did she get sick?”
“Why isn’t she getting better?”
“Why did he have to die?”
“Why did he leave her?”
“Why can’t things be easier for him?”
“Why did he not get the promotion?”
“Why is there never enough money?”
No matter what it is that comes after the WHY part, it really ends with the same question in the end…
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?
I have been feeling lost; as if I am taking two steps forward only to be pushed 4 steps back. People close to me have been facing so many bad things and it has left me asking that question. When I feel this way I shut down. I just don’t have the words to express, well anything. Needless to say not much work gets done. In an effort this morning to try to inspire myself after hearing about another BAD thing happening to a GOOD person… I Googled the question… WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE? The very first thing that popped up in the search results was a video of Rabbi Harold Kushner. Since my maiden name is KUSSNER… I took this as a sign and clicked it. Boy am I glad I did.
Rabbi Kushner, who lost his son at the age of 14, wrote the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People way back in the 80’s but I think the sentiment is still very much relevant today thus the reason why it remains a best seller. The book addresses the difficult questions that inevitably arise after tragedy strikes. Kushner says in an effort to answer the WHY questions, people tend to either blame God and lose their faith, or see their tragedy as a punishment from God, which only drives them deeper into despair. Kushner suggests that instead of asking WHY IT HAPPENED, which keeps the focus on the past, keeps you helpless and with no control; instead we should come to the conclusion that God is not the author of our misfortunes but rather the source of help and strength and ask the questions HOW or WHAT instead; as in “What do I do now?”. When faced with tragedy he says, “Don’t try to explain it, don’t try to justify it, just concentrate on surviving it!” This really resonated with me.
I really really liked his suggestions on how we should deal with our loved ones when they are faced with tragedy. He said to simply say, “I’m SORRY” and then shut up! LISTEN and most of all be there for the person.
Does this new way of thinking make the hurt and pain any less. NOPE! But it does clear up my head some. It took too much of my time and energy trying to figure out what it is I did or didn’t do that may have caused my misfortune. Example: GOD didn’t break my father’s hip which started his decline and eventually made him susceptible to the infection that traveled through his blood and killed him. God was not trying to teach us all a lesson at my father’s expense (Yup I actually had that thought and boy did I give myself a guilt trip because of it). Contrary to what my father thought, God did not let this happen to him because he did something wrong or wasn’t a good enough father, husband or JEW (Yes he actually said those things too). The infection was caused by germs that entered his weak body. THAT was what killed him. Germs do not know who is good or bad. It wasn’t personal it just WAS WHAT IT WAS. And yes what happened sucked! Plain and simple loosing one of the most important people in my life sucks! Not blaming GOD or myself doesn’t make the pain any less. It doesn’t make me miss him any less. But it does help me heal a little bit. It helps me to forgive myself and GOD for the two years that I have sat here asking WHY did he have to die?
WOW, I guess I did have something t say after all. Before I shut my mouth, I have one last very important thing to say…
To anyone who is reading this who has suffered a tragedy… I’m SORRY! I’m REALLY REALLY SORRY!