Unknown issues

The conversation started innocently. I was at a friend’s cookout. A mutual friend and I began conversing about CCD (Catholic education). Bridget is of the age to begin CCD and learn the rites of passage in the faith. There are just a few small problems with that: 1. While she is of “age” she is not of “grade” (most children begin at 1st grade) 2. Learning (enough said) and 3. while most kids do not understand what sin is they do know right from wrong.

Do I wait for Bridget to become “aware” or enter first grade or do I enter her now (at the age she should)? Do I push her through the system because that is what Catholics do, go through the rites or do I say screw it and just let those rites pass her by. Somehow the conversation turned to my unspoken deeper issue with God.

The woman innocently said to me, God only gives special children to special parents. Unknowingly opening a wound I had held in secret. She was trying to be nice, trying to comfort and she (probably) truly believes those words. As a mom living with a special needs child this was my response:

God can kiss my ass.

Yup, I said it.

It is not that I do not love my daughter. It is not that I have an issue with Bridget having a rare genetic disorder and more special needs than President Reagan had jelly bellies. It’s because I am having difficulty rationalizing a loving God with a God who allows my child to feel such pain. A God who thinks it is okay to make a mother hold her child down for two hours while her daughter screams as they try to put an IV in or a catheter exam.

I haven’t been to Mass in a year, since June of 2015. I skipped the usual “high masses” that almost every lapsed Catholic attends: Easter, Palm Sunday, Christmas. We had been regularly attending Mass since Abby started first grade, missing a week here and there but attending with regularity. I have continue to send Abby to CCD, but I haven’t prayed or participated since the week I held Bridget down as they inserted a catheter up her vagina and flushed it with water as I physically restrained her.

Last December when she was hospitalized and almost died I didn’t call for the Chaplin, I didn’t ask her to be blessed. I was not deliberately not calling on God but He had ceased to be of comfort to me. As I held Bridget down for the IV and she screamed mommy hurt then rested in MY arms afterwards I was amazed at her capacity for love.

A God of love should not allow any of that to have happened. There is no greater good in my child’s pain. There is no grace, faith or peace. It is just senseless pain. When she survived and came home I didn’t thank God but my village of support. Those who were there for our family. Those who comforted me through phone calls, texts and any other way they could.

The poor woman I was shouting at said to me that this was the Devil talking through me. That probably wasn’t the way the conversation should have gone and not just because I am not a pretty crier. She is a woman with a very strong Catholic faith and I admire her for it. I don’t (and have never) blame God for Bridget’s health issues but I don’t thank him for her either. I wasn’t kind in my response (it’s kind of a blur).

The next morning she and I met by chance. I apologized for my behavior, that I hadn’t realized I had this unknown issue with God. She apologized for not stopping the conversation. She told me she is praying for me. I let it slide and walked away.

This weekend I walked back into Church to celebrate the life of a great man. It was here that I realized it had been a year since I last attended Mass. His wife, full of grace, spoke of their faith in God and how that faith comforted them. I know that she wasn’t just saying the words but feeling them. I heard her words and wished I could feel the same.

But I don’t.

I just don’t.

*****************

This isn’t a post shared for everyone to say they are praying for me or worry that I have gone over the edge. I am okay. I didn’t realize I had this God issue. I still have it. I refuse to believe in a God that makes me harm my child or have her face unspeakable pain.  I am only sharing because I am not alone in feeling this way. I don’t mind sharing and being condemned for my feelings. But I will delete any comments that attack another person for stating how they feel.

14 thoughts on “Unknown issues

  1. Emily

    I love this post and not just because I can so very much relate (and in fact I’ve never been a religious person – I’m Jewish and my husband is Catholic btw – when someone asks how we are raising our kids, depending on my mood, I might reply, “confused!”). You were so brave to write this and I gotta say I’m totally with you on this — every single word. xoxo

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  2. Dana

    You feel the way you feel, Kerri. No one can make you feel differently, and it shouldn’t matter whether they agree with you or not. As Emily said, you are brave to write about such a potentially controversial topic. I hope it was a bit cathartic for you.

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  3. Julie S

    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. You know how much I hate that phrase she said to you. It is really presumptuous. Oh well. Hang in there.

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  4. Leslie

    I have a lot of thoughts about this, nearly all of them too inflammatory to post. I will just say this: It seems it’s very easy for people to talk about what “God” does when “God” hasn’t done it to them.

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    1. firebailey Post author

      Sorry for the delay in responding, I’ve been away! I hope you know that based on what you wrote here, I do understand. Exactly what you mean about God being a lot easier for others than someone who is on the receiving end of what he hasn’t done.

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  5. Blue

    Solidarity, my sister. You are not alone!

    I have always been a woman of faith. I was a missionary. I did everything right. And got royally screwed. My husband has a brain disease. In front of everyone else he is a faithful, handicapped man of God. When we are alone he is vile. And like the typical abused wife, I can’t leave him. Knowing your situation doesn’t empower you to change it. Caring for his every need leaves me exhausted. Don’t judge me, you don’t know the whole story. But I have abandoned my faith. I still take him to church, where I smile & behave pleasantly. On the inside, I know my husband isn’t the only one pretending. People tell me I’m building my testimony. They have no idea. None.

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    1. firebailey Post author

      URGH I hate the platitudes and “try” to remember it is because the person doesn’t really know what to say. When I am told God doesn’t give more than you can handle I say apparently he misread my resume. I am so very sorry for what you are going through. I do not know how you sit quietly in church every week. I admire your determination. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in feeling this way.

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