This is a daunting question I’m faced with daily as a chaplain. Individuals burned over 75% of their bodies, trauma victims from motor vehicle accidents and gunshots and stab wounds, women who’ve lost their babies, first-time chemo patients…this is a normal day within a hospital. This is real life. While we all desire an unstormy, calm-seas passage, we will not experience that on this ball forever.
It’s a relatively easy ascent when things are sunny-side-up. But how about when they are just NOT? What then? When we find ourselves beside that bed with our loved one. When the diagnosis that’s voiced hits our own eardrums.. When what seemed impossible becomes actual.
I have a phrase I tell my patients when presented with this ever-longing question. It’s very short, and not always what they’d hoped for.. But as an authentic person who refuses to be anything but honest, it is the truth. When I’m asked why someone’s child is paralyzed, or why the baby didn’t make it, or why they have to endure their 11th chemo treatment, or why their dad died so quickly, I have a very short, three-word answer. It goes something like this.
‘I don’t know.’
Usually they nod in agreement, but one lady in particular asked for me to find someone with a better answer. I couldn’t. The great unfathomable mystery of Godness is that we don’t know the workings of the world. This is a bummer for me, as someone who likes things to make sense logically and rationally. This fact is brutal. There are just some things we are not ever going to understand here on the round blue, green, brown ball.
Riding shotgun with faith is all we’ve got.