I went to confession for the first time in a loooong time the other day. I’ve been holding back because I haven’t been able to figure out how I’m feeling about my faith. I still believe in it all, but I’m in a rut, and I can’t figure out if I’m mad or sad, or somewhere in between. It felt as if I was just void of emotion, but that was probably just cause I didn’t want to deal with my actual emotions. There are many thoughts that come to your head with the death of someone you love, especially when they are so young. You either blame God or yourself, or a mixture in between. “God, why didn’t you save her?” “Why did you take her away?” or “Why didn’t I say this to her?” “Why didn’t I hang out with her more?” “This would all be different, if….” And whether you come to a conclusion in that moment, the questions always comes back. It’s like you can’t help it. For example, I know the death of my sister isn’t God’s fault, but in my lowest moments I’ll still blame Him or I’ll blame myself, even though I have reasoned with my self many times that it’s not.
One of the conclusions I have come up with to answer why God “let” her die:
The book I was reading the other day, called Good God talks about how we struggle with this idea that God is either all-powerful, or all-good. For some reason, we struggle to harmonize the goodness of God with the evil in the world. We would rather believe in a God that is all-powerful than all-good. Our thoughts are:
“Either God has the power to do something about evil but chooses to allow it for reasons we cannot understand, or he has no power to stop the evil, which makes him no god at all.”
The answer though is both. He is all-powerful and all-good. It comes down to the free will He has given us. Through free will, we can choose good, but this also means we can chose evil. If God stopped us from making the evil choice every time, we would have no free will. Now this makes sense in my mind most of the time, until you bring in miracles and then it becomes something within the gray area.
So I have these thoughts and answers, but then it’s like I relapse into doubt as if I haven’t had any of them. It’s a constant struggle with yourself and with God. So what do you do….? That’s what I am trying to figure out.
So, I’m at this plateau in my faith. Where do I go now? I keep pushing off prayer. Going to mass because it is routine, but not fully enjoying it. What is wrong with me. Is this hurt from the loss of my sister? Can I get back into it?
I finally go to reconciliation (I believe the last time I went was before Ryane passed away). I have no idea what I plan on saying. I tell him the little things that I need to work on. And then, I cry. I tell him my faith struggle, the death of my sister, etc. He closes his eyes, I’m crying softly to myself, and it was almost like I was watching God speak to him. Finally, he begins speaking with his eyes still closed. He says,
“I would like to pray for the repose of your sisters soul, may we always keep her in our prayers. I want you to know that through you faith, it will get better. Through mass, community, mediation, prayer. This is how you will slowly heal. Through your faith you will gain many brothers and sisters in Christ. Be sure to look for your sister in the faces of others, because that is where you will find her.”
These were probably some of the most beautiful words I have heard since my sisters death. They bring some light to my heart. I am on a journey. I am not sure exactly where I am going, but moments like these show me Ryane and God are with me every step of the way.