There is something that I need to get out of my head and try to sort through, because it has been circling around inside my mind for a very long time...and rather than making any progress towards clarity I think I'm just getting more confused.
The problem is that I don't have much hope that I can articulate it at all.
But I want to try. It is worth the attempt.
Where to start? Since my thoughts are so tangled-up I'm not sure where a good entry point might be. Hmmm...ok, if I am going to do this then I better just go stream of consciousness and not second-guess, because otherwise I will certainly continue to be stuck.
I've always had what I would describe as a strong faith, a deep spiritual connection to God. I don't believe that any one religion or faith has claim on God--nor do I believe that God has a preference for any one faith. I was raised as a Christian in a fairly liberal home, and I realize that my views/beliefs aren't shared by some people who consider themselves to be Christian. I don't really want to get into all of that, though.
While I realize that some people experience personal tragedy or loss and it reinforces their faith, this is not what has happened in my case. My faith has been shattered. It is important to clarify that by faith I don't necessarily mean belief. My belief in the existence of God remains pretty much intact. Any amount of *doubt* is no greater than prior to losing William. I am referring to faith in a way that is synonymous to trust. I used to have a strong trust in God, and now I have no idea if that concept is even possible.
Here is where I start to get all tangled-up:
I have never believed in pre-determination, that our lives are playing out as they were "meant to be." I believe that each choice we make determines the course of our lives, and even our thoughts and attitudes have the power to change that course--for better or for worse. In this same vein, I do not believe God is some puppet-master up in the heavens looking down on us and controlling outcomes. Yet I would pray. I would pray a lot. I would have conversations with God. I would do so at night as I was falling asleep. I would do so in the morning as I started my day...in the car as I drove, at different times througout the day. Not formal prayers, no kneeling or anything...and I haven't attended church regularly (or really at all, besides every few years at Christmas) since I was in high school. But I was always *in contact* with God. Mostly they were prayers of gratitude. Or if I was trying to sort something out or come to a decision. I was never really asking for things, as though God were Santa Claus or someone who could run an errand for me. Rather than making prayers of request I would pray about what I thought I wanted and ask God to show me what would be best, for me and anyone else involved.
But then I started to go into labor with William and I knew that if we couldn't stop it that he wouldn't make it. And boy did I pray hard that things wold turn around. And for a little while there it looked like those prayers would be answered. They were doing one last ultrasound as they took me down for surgery when my water broke. And I knew immediately, in that instant, that praying wouldn't change the outcome. That was it. I haven't prayed since. I've started to, but it is hollow and false. The nice man at the cemetary (which is Catholic, although we are not) gave me a pamphlet titled something like "Making Peace with God after a Baby Dies." Mr. C saw it and said something to me about it...he clearly wasn't mad at God and found the idea of it hard to comprehend. I told him that I was indeed mad at God, but worse--that I didn't trust him anymore. It is worse than that, though. You see, I realize the inconsistency of this all--how contradictory to my reaction is to what I say I believe. If God isn't pulling the strings then I cannot blame him for losing William. This I can handle. I actually prefer it, how awful to think otherwise. What I am having trouble with, I guess this is where the lack of faith/trust comes in, is the flip-side--if God isn't responsible for the bad things then (he) isn't responsible for the good things either. So God is not there to express gratitude to, or to consult for guidance, or to share my deepest desires with in hopes for some sense of direction toward pursuing them. But is this true? If so, then what is God?
I don't know.
And I'm not so sure that I even expressed mself very clearly. But at least it's a start.