Tuesday, October 3, 2006

I don't mean to question you, God, but about my spinal cord. What were you thinking when that driver plowed into me?

"Admitting our anger with God does not destroy faith but rather forces us to clarify what we believe and why, to move from a child's faith to an adult's faith. Though refusing to admit anger with God may seem to protect one's faith, I am convinced that in the long run it does more harm than good." Fr. Pat McCloskey , How to Handle Anger at God

Be aware of a faith that's too nice, Fr. McCloskey says in his article. (Click above to read).

Are you angry about your disability? Are you angry about your job, the death of a loved one, or how your spouse treats you? It's easy to reply yes to questions like these, but when we go beyond that and ask:"Are you angry at God? " ,some of us get a bit squeamish. We tend to waffle. People say they don't understand why God would permit such a thing or even ask how it could happen. They might purse their lips and stoically refuse to make any connection between the two questions, even if you ask them in succession.

Why? Because it's hard to criticize the Big Guy. God is the Ultimate Authority Figure. If we have trouble asking our boss a question or suggesting a better way to do things at work, imagine our chagrin when we're faced with taking a complaint to God.

The question I had to ask was: "I don't mean to question you, God, but about my spinal cord. What were you thinking when that driver plowed into me?"

No, it's not an easy thing to say. To be more precise, it's not an easy thing to pray.

Because, as Father Mc Closkey points out, we need to learn to be honest in our prayers - and honest with ourselves and God. That's where I think I learned more spiritual maturity in my journey from anger to acceptance - was in acknowledging the kinds of feelings I had .

I also had to grow up - and accept that we have free will, which some of us exercise in destructive ways. The driver who caused my accident was on medication and not substance free - a choice made before driving. But I learned that God did not cause my accident, nor did He wish me to have it. It was the result of a very bad choice by the other driver.

Whether I wanted to face it or not, feeling anger was part of the process by which I healed. When I prayed during Mass "..just say the word and I shall be healed", I wasn't praying for a miracle so I could hop up and walk around again. I was praying for spiritual healing, so I could reconcile what had happened, deal with my anger and move on with my life with my disability.
Some of my prayers to God were angry asides. I remember saying "Thanks alot, God - now what am I supposed to do?" I had my own personal showdown with God and it could have gone either way, I thought at the time.

But I think my honesty pulled me through with God. It led me to a new level of closeness with God, one where I can pray without hiding my sins from Him. I know it is okay to go to God just as I am, vulnerable and weak at times, yet able to be strong through His grace.


Anonymous said...

I was a bit shocked when I first read your post title. But I see what you're getting at. I went through a bad divorce and at the time I didn't understand why it happened. Through prayer and honesty I realized my part in things and stopped blaming God and everyone else.

Anonymous said...

I went through a real crisis with God when I was injured. I know I became closer to God as a result. I'm glad you posted this.