The Agony of Not Knowing…
The doc pretty much confirmed what I had surmised already. Mom’s digestive system is not going to function. In all likelihood the cancer that took her kidney has enveloped part of her intestine. Point of view and treatment options switched today from trying for improvement to getting her comfortable and planning for extended care for as long as she lives.
When my dad died I can’t say how mad I got at God. In these situations some of the strongest Christians sometimes start a sentence in their mind, “what kind of God would…..”
Speaking to my brother this morning he said he didn’t understand the reason she was suffering. “There has to be a reason.” His agony is one of trying to understand the “working of God.” My mother, too, asked why she had to suffer.
Christians are steeped in the belief that things happen “for a reason.” Though few really accept the full micromanage concept every Christian I’ve ever known believes in some kind of “purpose” or whatever. I, too, used to think that way. How troubling and confusing to try to understand an infinite God with a finite mind.
Why do Christians torture themselves so? Is it a result of the convoluted notions of God buried in doctrine, the result of combining Jewish scripture and the story of Jesus? Is it just a deep desire to believe God is “in control?” Is it merely fear that what they’ve always believed in might be wrong?
In my case it was all of the above and then some.
My brother said, “what is the purpose? There is a purpose.”
I told him of course there was. Mom was suffering because she’s 86 and has cancer. It’s just biology. A little later mom asked the same question, why does she have to hurt? I told her, as I told my brother, when we get older our bodies quit working like they should. They get screwed up. Maybe it’s not the most comforting answer but at least it’s not “because God wants you to suffer so he can teach someone a lesson” or some other nonsense.
When we’re born we are dying. It is the nature of the flesh, of humanity, of everything on this earth. We’re impermanent fixtures on an impermanent planet in an impermanent universe. No amount of rationalizing or spiritualizing is going to change those facts. Where we came from (our sentience/soul/mind) and where we’re going does not change the truth that we’re just biological beings.
When my dad’s health deteriorated my heart grew heavy. He was my best friend, my confidant, the guy who was always there not to meet needs but to be a friend. In some ways I’ve never gotten over loosing him though it’s been ten years. The day I lost him was one of those turning points when I really started to question.
Today I sit next to my mom, just recently blasted with a dose of high-power pain meds and still squirming and uncomfortable, knowing she has a few weeks, a few months, and then the end. I am sad, of course. I love my mom. There are a million things she will miss. She’ll never see my finished dayroom, most likely, nor sit beside me enjoying the fire in dad’s old wood stove in that room. We’ll miss her. We’ll cry. But I can far more easily accept this loss and deal with it than I could dad. Now I understand better.
Whatever the spiritual dimension might involve, how ever we might be connected, this life on earth is a physical one. We live, we love, we laugh, we cry, we die. It is how things are. There is no “purpose” beyond that. I do not blame God nor question my faith.
I tell my children that dying is a natural part of living. We all will die. They have moments of sadness, those fleeting thoughts of being without me or their mom. I had those when I was a kid, too. They bubble up more in a time like this. It is important that they, too, learn the process. They should not place blame anywhere. There is nothing and no one to blame. Things are. Life is. There are reasons but recognizing reasons is not placing blame. We don’t blame the sky for being blue or chlorophyll for making plants green. Why place blame for any other biological process?
My brother, sisters, family members who remain steadfast (or shaky) Christians will seek answers. They will suffer in their not knowing. I, however, will rejoice in knowing. My mom has been around for many years. She has not always known the best for us but has always loved us with that great maternal love that has no end.
For the remainder of her days my duty is to be here, have love and compassion, be the son she needs me to be. At the end, when we say goodbye, my siblings might be asking why. I won’t. I’ll just say thank you for all your love, mom. And I’ll say thank you to the Creator that we as humans are able to see beyond our mere biology and recognize the unique nature of our lives and in that how we are able to give to each other as mom has given all these years. What more could we ever ask for or expect?
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No, I am not from Bohemia. The generic definition of a bohemian applies to me:
A person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.
Convention and I have never gotten along. We disagree with each other. I refuse to conform, to be a part of the crowd. I am not a sheep. People rarely understand me or who I am. I rarely understand people. Such is life.
There are people who write, as in make a living putting together words or just run off at the keyboard, and then there are writers. Writers are people driven to write, who even when they’re not writing they are writing. This means that their head is buzzing and they’re creating prose in their thoughts. Most true writers are bohemians and eccentrics. All the best were and are totally off the wall. They make no apologies and neither do I. I see no reason to do so.
On this space I simply do as most bloggers do and run off at the keyboard. (In person I often run off at the mouth. Aren’t you lucky to be reading!) This blog has been around quite a while now, too, so there are older ramblings I might not even agree with any more. There are certainly things I have mellowed out on and do not send me over the hedge as they once did. I may not even stop by here very often. I’m not so good at juggling blogs.
May 17, 2011 – I am here today. I remain the seeker. If you’re also a seeker, let’s seek each others’ company! firstname.lastname@example.org. Friends are the stars that populate our personal universe… your friendship will brighten up my sky!
Hi! I’m the Texas Bohemian!
… writer on occasion, thinker of thoughts, father and husband. This Trailerpark Scholar (aka me!) couldn’t draw a happy face without a compass. His gift is with words, not pictures, though the power of words can draw pictures of worlds no pen could ever draw. His talent extends considerably past the proverbial pen, however. He’s a Jack of All Trades, Master of None… well, only a few. He’s pretty damn good at a lot of things!
If you are unable to resist the temptation to judge before considering all the facts and truth you will certainly jump to conclusions regarding whether or not I am good or bad, worthy or unworthy, friend or foe. Such is the danger one such as I face daily in a world where people make an art of snap judgments. Judge as you are prone to judge. It would be wise, however, to jump to no conclusions regarding my character over anything you read.
The person Ted Gresham is thus:
The person I perceive my self to be is an aging man exploring the meaning of life, discovering Truth, considering the words of great individuals including and especially The Buddha. This person is rough-edged, kind-hearted, pacifist, respectful and loving. This person lacks discipline. This person is outspoken and opinionated, struggles with judgmentalism though quick and eager to forgive. This person seeks only Truth. Nothing more, nothing less. This person appreciates beauty in a child’s hug, a kind smile, a sunrise, a soft-spoken voice, the teachings of Gautama The Buddha.
I am an eccentric so defined: ‘deviating from the recognized or customary character, practice, etc.; irregular; erratic; peculiar; odd’ (dictionary.com). Not only in attitude, point of view or lifestyle do I fit this definition but in history as well.
Of course a bohemian is by definition also an eccentric but not all bohemians are the definition of eccentric from their youth nor are very many quite as eccentric as I am.
Without bragging I can say I have been a few places and done a few things. The partial list:
- Cashier / Clerk / gas station attendant
- Air Conditioning Mechanic
- Radio Announcer / Program Director
- Truck Driver
- Welfare Caseworker
- Data Entry Clerk
- Limmo Driver
- Rental Car Agent
- Condo Desk Clerk
- Construction worker
- …I forget what else
I’ve traveled through nearly a dozen states for fun, more than forty for work. I’ve lived in every part of Texas and spent time in Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico. I’ve crossed the southern border on foot and traveled to Vancouver by air. And I’ve dreamed of and studied about places all around the globe.
In more than ten years of college on and off I’ve studied air conditioning / refrigeration, journalism, writing, history, political science, government, law, and counseling. I’ve attended two universities, two more junior colleges and two technical schools.
I’ve had countless letters printed in newspapers, written for online publications and used my writing skills in many jobs. I’ve made a few hundred bucks writing and written whole books that have paid nothing.
There’s not a whole lot of things I cannot do but some things I am quite good at. I can build houses from the ground up, fix all kinds of things, do plumbing, electrical, maintenance, painting, framing. I have driven vans, trucks, busses, tractor-trailers and all kinds of cars. I can do and have done virtually anything done in an office short of being a doctor or lawyer, from data entry to clerical to interviewing and all that fun stuff.
I’ve been a crusader, a street preacher, a religious teacher, a music director, singer, religious broadcaster and religious writer. I’ve studied all major religions, a few minor ones, and Christianity from many different perspectives over many years. I’ve been a Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal/Assembly of God. I have considered and reject a host of religious ideas and beliefs. I am at present an agnostic Buddhist and study Buddhism.
In all these years of working, learning and traveling the one thing I have learned is that I know almost nothing. I’ve forgotten more
than I learned. The answers I seek are answers nobody has. The Truth I follow is one few recognize and fewer care to apply to their life. In knowing all I know I know nothing. In seeing all I’ve seen, I’ve seen nothing. In understanding all I understand, I understand nothing.
Such is the path of true discovery.
Such is the story of my life.
What I’m Talkin’
- Tiny Story
- Little Woman, Big Impact
- So… what the fuck, right?
- DAMN! I can be morbid, huh?
- All Those Yesterdays…
- All the bullshit… and a song: Hate Me!
- The Story of Me
- My haven!
- The days of my life…
- Growing stuff!
- The Me that I Am.
- Poor Man’s Hydroponics
- Friday! And I am tard again!
- Working Man!
- Independence Day
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