|Bongaree Beach, Bribey Island, at sunset|
He died almost a year to the day that another friend of mine, in Canada, lost her ten year old daughter.
"I can't explain why God would take the life of a child," the minister said, "because I don't understand it myself."
Bad things happening to good people. Christians are supposed to have faith that there IS a reason for it and that God knows what he is doing.
But I have found more answers in the Hindu Bagavath Gita and in the Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation.
Feel free to pray for my soul, all my Catholic and Mormon and otherwise devout Christian friends, because I am grateful that you care and because I can use all the prayers I get. I am not worried about my soul though, because I believe the God you love would know that, although I am following my own path, it is one he would approve of. The Christian God is YOUR way to salvation, just as the Tao (with a good flavouring of Hindu) is my way to universal consciousness. The Lord carries the heartbroken in that beautiful poem about footsteps in the sand. One of my friends (how do I get so lucky?) travels 'The Highway of Holiness."
I see myself as more of on a footpath. Maybe with a sad little donkey in tow - to lighten my burdens. Rambling along but getting there nonetheless. (It's nice though, if my friends who ARE on the highway, slow down to wave at me in passing every now and then though! Thanks for that! Maybe throw me a biscuit?)
The Book of Mormon has a GREAT description of the devoted following the iron rod of righteousness through the forest of wickedness, while the rest of us stumble blindly about in the wilderness. I love that image (and I am misquoting it liberally, from memory). I love it because I know I am stumbling about in the wilderness. But I love my wilderness. I need my wilderness. I won't find salvation at the end of an iron path of righteousness. I believe there is more than one path.
|Somerset Dam, over the Easter holidays|
This, as it turns out, that there is more than one way to seek salvation, is a big part of the Eastern religions. It is why Buddhists and Hindus don't seek to convert others. The Dalai Lama has stated that people are born Christian or Hindu or anything else for a reason. This is part of the concept of karma, not that you get what you deserve, but that you chose this reincarnation for a specific purpose.
I like this explanation better than some faceless guy up there calling the shots. Because, if God IS really calling the shots, well, he is making some really BAD decisions sometimes. Or sleeping on the job. The TV series 'Supernatural' actually has the angels looking for him because he has gone missing!
I know, I know, it is what those same people who are now seriously praying for me call 'faith.'
The concept of karma puts the control in my hands. I am the way I am because I chose it. I can also choose to change - to progress upon the path of self-realization (with or without the iron rod) and come closer to achieving universal consciousness. Or God.
The biggest obstacle to this being very very similar to the Christian concept of heaven is that the Catholic Church, who were the only Christians at the time, outlawed the concept of reincarnation at the Nicene convention in 325. At this time, it was decided that the fledgling religion needed defining. And reincarnation, something not at odds with Christianity before that, was cut out. The Catholic Church wanted men to repent on earth, in this lifetime. More than one shot at salvation wasn't urgent enough. It also negated the concept of purgatory and the need for relatives to pay money in order to hasten their loved ones ascent into heaven.
As I reread the Bagavath Gita, I realize that there are levels of understanding I am not even coming close to. Apparently Hindu scriptures describe many different levels of being, some among the stars. This corresponds to my idea of angels, another level of being, and to the Christian idea that angels are jealous of us as humans. Because, it is only as humans that we can grow and progress spiritually. The other levels I look at as 'in-betweens' to life here on earth.
The ultimate goal, be it Nirvana or Universal Consciousness, God-Realization or Paradise, is described as total balance, harmony, where all of our indivuals consciousnesses (souls?) form a perfect unity. Until the balance is broken and the cycle to rediscovering our way back to it begins again. Kinda like the "Big Bang" theory of souls. And, I believe, similar to some old Jewish beliefs in a uniting of points of light. (Also similar to Jesus' statements that we are all brothers and sisters, that we are all God or all have God within us.......)
|Somerset Dam, with the clouds going by above|
But I felt I had the beginnings of MY answer to where her son is.
He is a point of light in the heavens.
And, although I can't explain exactly why, I do have faith that there is a reason. Our children choose us as parents before they are born.
Both my friends Alecia and Karen, and their families, are among the happiest, most loving and generous people I know. Alecia and Karen radiate joy. They are better people than I am. They love unconditionally and they teach their children to do the same. They live without the guilt and self-doubt and fear that I struggle with. They are strong because they are kind.
Why would ANY God punish mothers like this with the death of a child?
Could it be that these women were good enough, and loving enough, for these children to CHOOSE them for their brief lives? That these children, because the two I know were also those bright rays of sunshine that made everyone's day brighter, lived their short lives like shooting stars because that was all that was given this time around? And that the mothers and families they chose were the ones who would love them and help them the best on this short journey? And that the journey was short because they did what they came to do, touched us in their special way and made us better people for knowing them?
I HATE that last bit especially. Because really, if these kids were so wonderful for their short 19 , or 10, years, imagine how even more fantastic they would have been and how many MORE people they could have touched if they hadn't succumbed to childhood leukemia or to heart disease.
|The sun goes down at Bongaree Beach, Bribey Island|
So that I certainly don't have all the answers. But I know that this is the question.
Thinking of Josh, and of Ciera, as points of light glowing in the heavens makes the whole thing prettier for me.
But I doesn't lessen the fact that two friends of mine have had their hearts ripped out.
I can be there for Karen. And I will be a better person for knowing her, for knowing she has to live with the pain of losing a child for the rest of her life, and knowing that she will still radiate love and kindness and generosity and yes, even joy, in a way that a lesser person like myself never could after a loss like that.
Knowing Karen, and Alecia, and knowing their kindness and joy, makes me want to be a better person.
I don't know if that's a reason. But it certainly is an inspiration.