heads up, dear reader. this post contains pathos, angst, and a little bit of god talk. consider this before proceeding.
i’m almost embarrassed to say that my angst got inflamed during and after watching the most recent episode of the tv show “glee.” i’m not embarrassed that i watch it, but this episode was uncharacteristically dark and angst-ridden. and it really hit me hard.
kurt, one of the kids, finds his father stricken with a heart attack, which leaves dad in a coma. as the other kids tried to comfort kurt by offering various prayer- and god-based thoughts, kurt (who is gay) announced that he didn’t believe in god, asking why would god have made him gay, and then told all of his/her other children to persecute him? why would god tell everyone that kurt was gay because he chose to be? why, kurt asks, would anyone choose a life that includes the kind of abuse gay people, and perhaps especially gay kids, must endure? the show was built around other characters exploring their own spirituality and a few discovering their own doubts about god along the way.
kurt’s questioning brought up those same questions to me. why would god have done this to me (given me ms) along with (personal revelations here) taking my mother when i was so young (9 years old), and giving my daughter a heart so faulty that it had to be replaced when she was only 8. (which brings up the question, why did god do that to her?) one character in the show sings the REM song, “losing my religion,” as he sorts through his own doubts – a powerful moment in a usually pretty fluffy tv show.
in a sort of side story, one of the adult characters, sue, tells her older sister, who has down’s syndrome, that as a child she prayed that her big sister would get better, so other kids wouldn’t be so cruel to her. but sue says nothing changed, so she therefore refuses to believe in god. the older sister smiles and tells her that “god doesn’t make mistakes.” ( i have also heard the sentiment that all prayers are answered; sometimes the answer is “no.”)
anyway, i have been chewing over all of this. sure, “glee” is a silly tv sit-com, but this episode has been making me think about the issues raised by these pretend high-school kids. if god (assuming god is the driving force) did all of this to me, (and so, too, to all the people around me) why? is there a positive lesson for me here? i got the learning to accept humility, and learning to accept help from other people. but surely that can’t be all there is to it. or maybe it is. therein lies the angst. why has all of this been put on my plate? is there a larger, cosmic lesson here? or is it all just a random spin of the wheel?
i’ll probably never know, unless there is some sort of afterlife when all is revealed, like having a magician, after the show, reveal how the trick was done. perhaps i will have to wait until then, and accept that there may not, in the end, really be a reason beyond simply my having been dealt the cards i was dealt. i don’t mean to suggest that there are not others – as there certainly are – who find themselves holding far worse hands than i. i don’t doubt that they too have faced these same questions, and maybe it is the facing of the questions themselves that is in some way the reason for the particular cards i have been dealt. maybe that is the cosmic lesson.
i don’t know. and that is the hardest question of all to grapple with.