Why do bad things happen? And why to children? My boy is getting older and when he's migraine-y (that should be a word) as he was a few weeks ago and unable to hang out with friends, go to school, be a "regular" guy, he starts questioning religion and life: What is the purpose of us being here when life is so filled with negativity? Mom, do you believe in G-d, because I don't. Don't you think life is hard? What if I'm paying now because I'm going to be a bad guy later in life?
Oh, gee whiz--and my thoughts go instantly to all those "bad" guys who people say could have had PANDAS and Lyme. Bad thoughts, bad; go away! This is my little boy we're talking about and he has a conscience and a half.
A conscience that would make him take himself out if his thoughts ever got too bad, a conscience that makes him want to be either a police officer, a scientist, a doctor or an investment banker (well, no conscience there, perhaps) when he's feeling good.
But really! What is wrong with this world that a little, innocent boy needs to wonder why he's paying for something so monstrous? The child has been sick for over five years already. Sure, he's shown improvement. He's back in school after being homebound for 18 months. He's earning high grades. But it all comes at a price--and that take-a-breath apprehension of wondering what's around the next corner? That next corner could be Saturday. Or next year. Or in three years. Or tonight at 1:09 AM.
On a support group site recently, a mom wrote about that tale, "Welcome to Holland." For those of you who don't know, it's a parable about a parent planning to a trip to Italy, but the person ends up going to Holland instead and needs to change expectations. In other words, our kids are not always exactly what we expect, especially if there are some disabilities involved. Well, the parent on this support group wanted to know what you do when instead of "Welcome to Holland," the story line reads, "Welcome to North Korea." I can't give her credit here because support groups are anonymous, but I totally get it. Yes, I do.
When I was in my twenties and going through a rough patch, I read, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". Perhaps it's time to read it again. All I recall is that the book gave me some level of comfort. And while life at the time was rough for me, it did get better. Because I worked my butt off to make it better. I made some big decisions, I made some changes, and I was able to take control of my life.
You can't always do that when confronted by a disease. DISEASE is a formidable challenge. It's not like a life decision that I can take responsibility for. It's not like a life direction that I can alter. I can't leap over this obstacle or veer into a different direction. I have to head straight through--deal with the dirt, the slime, the gruesome--there's no turning back. No re-do's. Because it comes from the outside. We didn't ask for it, but heck, plenty of adversity is all around us. People don't ask for bad things to happen.
So the conclusion is that the world is not kind. It's not a game. It's not all trips to the beach, white picket fences, romantic dinners or long bicycle rides, although these are the events that make it liveable. "The World is a Vampire," sings The Smashing Pumpkins. It's out to get you. If you let it.
The last book I need to re-read is Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, a book my mom gave me many eons ago. A book that might just have more significance now. Maybe I still have it in my book shelves. Maybe I need to acquire a new copy. I definitely need to begin living by it, and I need to teach my son to do the same.