Sunday, December 20, 2015

Abandoned



When I wrote this post, I was in an extremely dark mood. I want to emphasize that I do not feel abandoned by family and friends, but the abandoned feelings are only directed at God. In a way, I guess I understand the Deists of the Enlightenment. They believe that God was the creator, and then left us alone. The problem that I have with that is that Christ came and died for our salvation. Even Jesus had doubts of abandonment. In the cross (Matthew 27:6), Jesus said " Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which translates to "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Maybe Christinity is only a salvation religion. Maybe we are to live a good life in hopes of being welcomed home to God in heaven, and God doesn't protect us here on earth. Maybe there is no power to prayer, except when we ask forgiveness. This post was what I was feeling last night when I wrote this, but I think it's important to put those thoughts into words. Maybe someone can help me through this grief. I'm not sure that God is there to do so.

Honestly, I have no inspiration for a Sunday post. I feel abandoned. I have friends who check on me, and they try to comfort me. I've been told that my strong faith will bring me through this period of sorrow, but at the moment I feel like God has abandoned me.  It seemed like he made my life as bleak as possible when I lost my job, all the money worries I've had, the chronic headaches, and a myriad of other problems. Through all those my friend that I lost had been like the voice of God.  He'd always encouraged me.  He allowed me to fully be my true self. He knew me better than anyone on this earth ever has. With him and God, I felt like things would turn around and things would be better. I had hope and I thought I'd been rewarded for my faith when I did find what was the perfect job for me.

Suddenly it seemed like I had been rewarded for my faith.  My headaches were gone. I was happier than I have ever been in life. I had a job that was an absolute dream. I had friends who loved me, one in particular who I loved back so very much. I looked forward to waking up each morning. Then on my thirty-eighth birthday my world came crashing down. I found out that my friend had died in an automobile accident. I've tried to come to terms with the loss. Friends have done their best to comfort me.  I have tried to appear happy again, but I can't. I can't because my faith can't bring him back to me. God ripped him away.  My headaches have returned. My depression is worse than it has ever been. I am constantly on the verge of tears. I feel as if the happiness I'd experienced when I moved was mere false hope. I honestly feel abandoned by God. The hope and happiness that had filled my heart are gone.  I hate feeling this way, but no matter how hard I try, no matter what inspirational words I read, no matter how much I study the Bible for answers, and no matter how much I beg God for some relief, the sorrow won't lessen. I don't doubt that God exists, I know he does, but it's my faith in Him being a part of my life that is what's in doubt.

When I moved to Vermont, one of the things that I'd feared, really my only fear, had been how I'd be able to handle driving in winter conditions. I thought it was inevitable that eventually I'd have a wreck. If I did and didn't survive it, then the world would continue.  It wouldn't be a great loss. My mother could stop fearing that someone would find out that she had a gay son. My father would have the one child left that he'd always loved the most anyway.  I've always been a disappointment in his eyes. My friends had their boyfriends, husbands, and wives to love them. They would survive.  I have no one who is that close, and I fear that I never will again. Yes, I have friends, and they would mourn, but they have someone to comfort them. The one person who I had, the one person who loved me unconditionally, the one person who accepted me just they way I am, had a boyfriend that he loved and could comfort him.  Yet, when my best friend died, I am alone and a long way from home.

Yesterday, I was awoken by the pain of one of my cluster headaches.  This is something that hasn't happened in nearly a year. I've had headaches, but none have caused me to wake up from the pain. I got up, took some medicine and was able to fall back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later and felt much better, so I decided to go do the shopping that I desperately needed to do. For the most part, my shopping day was successful (I found some great winter boots), even if I never did find the 6 inch springform pan that I was looking for. As I was driving home, it was snowing, not bad and not enough to really make conditions terrible for driving, but it made me think about what I'd originally thought about being in a car accident. This might not make sense, but I always figured if anybody in my life would die in a car accident it would be me. Never did I imagine that it would be my best friend who would die. Nor did I ever imagine that he would end up back in the hands of the parents he was abandoned by. I couldn't believe it when I found out that his parents refused to let any of the people who'd become his family, when they declared that he was no longer a part of theirs, to attend a funeral for him.

By the time I got back home, not only was my headache back with a vengeance, but I was intensely depressed. As my head pounded and I dreaded the idea of a new cycle of cluster headaches beginning as they have for the past several weeks, I thought about how I felt abandoned by God.  Last Sunday's I talked about my anger and doubt. I am still angry. I am so angry that God would let such awful things happen in this world. The ironic thing is, my friend used to say he didn't quite understand God, and that if he really existed, how could he let the terrible things that happen in this world happen? My friend had many awful things happen to him personally, and he couldn't understand why God had allowed it to happen and why God did not protect him. I'd always consoled him and said that God loved him and some things weren't God's fault because humans are given free will. Humans are to blame for these tragedies. To be honest I'd never known how to answe those questions. It bothered me that I couldn't, and I couldn't find the answers. Now I find myself with the same doubt.

I spoke with his boyfriend after my friend's death. He talked about how I'd helped my friend with his faith. He had struggled with it a lot, but ultimately he said that God must love him because God had brought me into his life. My friend had never told me that. I always felt a connection to my friend that we were destined to know one another, and apparently he thought I was a gift to him from God. Now I wonder, if he was a gift in my life as I'd believed he was (and apparently he felt I was God's gift to him), then why did God take back his gift.  Why had He only allowed me to have him for a short time? Why didn't God let me say goodbye? I just don't understand why, and I don't understand how God has seemingly left me. I want to understand. I've searched for answers but they all ring hollow to me. I feel like I've been abandoned.

For the friends who are still in my life who are reading this, please don't think this lessens my love for you or that I don't greatly value your friendship and all the love and support you have given me. The thing is that the relationship that I had with my late friend transcended mere friendship and love. It was a connection that went to my very soul. All I can say is that as much as I love and appreciate my friends, I feel like I lost part of my soul. How do you get back your soul? He and his boyfriend had been perfect together.  There love was so strong from the very beginning, but he was my soul mate. It was a love that transcended romance. He was more like a brother to me (and even that doesn't describe the connection well enough), and I always felt that our souls were connected. I'm certain, I know the moment he died, because that night when he would have still been on his way home, I became violently ill and began vomiting. My head began to hurt worse than anything I'd experienced in a long time, and I had a sudden feeling of dread. That dread built throughout the following twenty-four hours or so before I got the news of his death. I have not felt whole since, and I haven't felt the presence of God since that moment either. I've only felt abandonment.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe,

Just got back from a long stay in Hawaii to learn about your loss. I feel deeply for you and I understand how difficult life has become for you. I can only quote Gerald Manley Hopkins to you. Life, bitter as it is for you, must go on. Persevere
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist -- slack they may be -- these last strands of man
In me {'o}r, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruis{`e}d bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avo{'i}d thee and
flee?
The Academic

John said...

Joe, Thank you for putting into words what many people feel. Most of my parishioners who have dealt with the loss of a loved one have expressed similar feelings to me. Grief counseling is very important, so I am glad you're seeing a professional therapist. If you feel like reading, there is a great book by Henri Nouwen, a Jesuit Priest who wrote a lot about grief, loss, and loneliness, called Turn My Mourning into Dancing. He suggests that the way through suffering is living fully in the midst of the trials that life brings our way. I think you would really enjoy the book.

naturgesetz said...

I saw this this morning but didn't have time to comment until now. Meanwhile you've added the introduction, which makes some points I was thinking about. Yes, it seems that you are feeling the way Jesus did on the cross. And yes, it's about salvation, not about being protected from suffering in the present life.

Why does God let people suffer; why not just put us in heaven? We don't really know. There are partial answers, which you already know, but no complete answer.

I don't believe that God is in charge in the sense that everything that happens is a result of his direct intervention to make it happen. He's not up there somewhere saying, "Now I'm going to kill this one. Now I'll give that one cancer. Now I'll make this earthquake." Miracles are possible, but what makes them miracles is that they aren't the way God's universe usually works. I'm not a Deist, because I believe miracles are possible and sometimes happen, but God created the laws of nature and usually lets nature take its course, and, as you say, gives us free will and lets us exercise it. We should try to exercise it is accordance with God's will, as Jesus did (as stated in Hebrews 10:5-10, which was read today at Mass). Going to the cross was part of God's will for his Son.

Catholics believe that when we are incorporated into the Body of Christ, the Church, our deeds done in accordance with God's will are incorporated into the work of Jesus, so that the sufferings we bear are joined to those of Jesus and are salvific, as St. Paul says, "I fill up in my body what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the Church." Colossians 1:24.

I had a friend whom I was attempting to guide back to a life of faith. At one point he asked me something like, "If I go to church and do what God says, will he take care of me?" After thinking for a second, I answered, "No." Because it's not about being protected in this life. God never promised happiness in this world. That's easy for us to say when we aren't suffering as you are now. But it's something we need to remind ourselves of in good times so we can endure the bad times.

May God bless you and give you consolation in the midst of your great sorrow — especially with the promise of resurrection and eternal life.

Vilges Suola said...

FFS Joe, THERE IS NO GOD. Accept this and there are no more questions. Shit happens, the good suffer, the bad prosper, the good prosper, the bad suffer, the majority muddle through. Any one of us can be picked off at any time. I do not say this to disparage you or to mock you pain. Just stop looking for answers. There are none.

Joe said...

Vilges Suola, you claim that you don't say this to disparage or mock me, but it sure as hell sounds that way. You don't believe in God and no longer look for answers. I cannot and will not abandon my faith that way. There are answers, but I might just not get them in this life.

Amanda said...

I'm sorry for your pain Joe. I wish I could take it away or lessen it. I don't have the answers but I do know the love you had for your friend is real. Keep that love in your heart and remember that no matter how bad it gets you're still here. I know you may question things now but I've never doubted your love and faith in Him. ((Hugs))

naturgesetz said...

One other reason I'm not a Deist: I believe God works by inspiring people to do what is good. Free will makes it possible to ignore those graces, but when people do what is good, God has inspired and enabled them. So he hasn't left us to our own devices.