I don’t hate God because my son died. That might be surprising to some and others probably don’t understand that at all, but that’s how it is for me.
I do believe that there is a loving, creative force at the center of this Universe. Life tends to flourish here. Lichens and mosses sprout on rocks. Bacteria thrives in the most harsh conditions. Stars ignite into brilliance at the farthest reaches of this and countless other galaxies.
The way a seed grips the soil around it and sips water with tiny roots, that is God. The way objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless another force acts on that object, that is God. That love can blaze into existence with a shared moment or secret touch, that, of course, is God, too.
But if there is a God, how could something like this happen to people like us? That’s the question, right? Not for me. I don’t ask that question. I don’t think God had anything to do with what happened to Silas. We are creatures of this World, this Earth. Laws of Nature dictate the way things operate. Gravity pulls us to the planet and whirls us around the sun. Food has taste, eyes can see. I am confident that tomorrow is ahead of me and that the past slides into memory with every second that goes by.
In this world there is death. For everyone I know, someday, there is death. It is a constant effort to remain alive. We must eat and breathe, we must drink lots of water to keep our systems and organs functioning. Our minds need art and words and interaction to stay healthy and whole. Our souls need love and truth, beauty, grace, dreams and hopes to stay alive.
God is the fountain from which all of those things flow. But I do not believe in a Tinker God. I do not see a tiny precise hand rearranging the World for maximum benefit and correctness. Bad shit happens. Unintended consequences are par for this enormous course. Perhaps there are magic and miracles happening out there. If so, they are rare and special. So was Silas, but unfortunately that just doesn’t matter. Every child is rare and special. The sad, brutal truth is that no species on the planet has 100% reproductive success.
This all sounds so clinical, I know. But that’s not at all how I feel about this, about Silas dying, about our life denied. It is raw and visceral and impossibly immediate. The extreme absence of my son is brutally palpable.
The fact is, I know this was not supposed to happen. It never is, for any parent. It is a flaw in the way the World operates, but there are so many flaws, so many errors in the way people treat one another. Injustice, terror, fear, poverty, destruction, disease, these are all errors in this World and when I compare the sadness to the joy the only conclusion I can come to is that God can’t be happy about any of this, either.
I do not believe that we are being taught a lesson by God. I do not believe that Silas died for ‘a reason’. Everything would always be better if he had lived and if he was with us today.
I believe God thinks so, too. I believe that God is old and deep and the source of love, light and all the planes of reality in this Universe, but I do not believe that God is perfect. I think the Universe itself yearns for an existence where such things did not happen, ever.
Perhaps that is why we are here. Maybe our role in this Universe is to imagine it such that mothers always give birth to perfect, healthy children; that Death appears only at the far end of long, beautiful lives and is welcomed as a respite from pain; that illness is always overcome; that love always triumphs over hate; that peace and grace and joy and laughter always soothes, always quiets our volatile souls.
Missing Silas makes me ache even more for all the lost children, all the death and horror in this world. I’m not mad at God for what happened to my son, but I am so terribly sad about it.
I think God is, too.