Monday, February 25, 2013

Questioning the Blessings

As I was watching an Oprah rerun this weekend I realized how many people believe in or want to believe in angels and God.

The featured woman told a story of how she was walking home alone one night and heard a terrifying noise. She prayed for help and was physically lifted by an angel and carried to the safety of a bridge many feet away. She was spared because she asked God to help her, and he responded by sending one of his angels.

I turned off the television because this got me thinking.

Not because I did not believe her, not because her story was long winded, but because of the idea there is an omnipotent being somewhere choosing who to listen to--and more importantly--who to ignore.

I realized it bothers me when people say they are blessed, and until now I never could not figure out why. I WANT to be blessed, and I want you to be blessed too--but then that leaves the people who are in dire straights, hurting for money, sick, injured, lonely, sad, or worse. Are they the UNblessed? The forgotten? They may believe more than you or I, but all the praying in the world does nothing. It almost felt to me that the "blessed" were bragging and leaving the others that were not lucky enough to be smiled upon by the benign and loving father above out in the cold. Why were they the chosen ones?

So what does that mean?  And what about praying?

There have been some studies concerning prayer and the results are inconclusive.  The patients in the study listed here had less stress before a heart procedure if they were part of the imagery/music group. The group that was prayed over fared about the same as the group that was not. In a similar study the prayed for group had a slightly higher rate of complications after a medical procedure (52%) compared to the group that was not prayed for (51%).

Even the Pope has his moments of doubt:

He said: "Sometimes it feels like God has been sleeping." Interesting.

Prayer seems to be an unnecessary process if we are to believe in the entity we are praying to. We are taught that God is all-knowing and loving and that prayer will help when you are hurting. But the caveat--it will only work if it is God's will anyway.

I am confused.

Admittedly I am more of an atheist than believer, but this does not mean I cannot be swayed. The gorgeous world around me, the stunning sunsets and beautiful babies born everyday do not mean to me that there is a God--and yet I cannot say 100% there is not.

Many of my prayers and prayers of others I know have been ignored or disregarded, so I eventually stopped praying. I am not wicked and I try and do my best to help others and be a good person--nothing has changed since I have ceased praying other than I feel like less of a hypocrite.

I have many things to be thankful for including an inquisitive mind that can't process a subject simply by faith.

I would love your opinion on the subject--agree or disagree.

I would also love for you to change my mind.

Please read Day 57 from 100 UNFORTUNATE DAYS for more God questions.


Day 57

Every basement has a dark corner or room no one likes.

Maybe the whole basement is dark and scary. Spirits collect in dark and cluttered spaces. They hide and wait for you because they are stuck. Some people can see them. Some people see the long thin black wispy figures with arms 10 feet long that unfold as they slowly reach for you in the dark because you have to go down there to get something or fix a light bulb or retrieve a screwdriver. Part of you revs up and moves really quickly to get out of there because you know if you wait long enough and the arms fully unfold, they can touch you and then part of you belongs in the black corner in the basement. Then it will be very hard to be normal again. You will wake up in the middle of the night, and you won’t be able to get back to sleep because you will worry about all the things you have done wrong and how you are hurting people. You can’t get this out of your mind now and you think that maybe if you count and envision each number in your head as you say it in your mind; you can block some of the bad thoughts.

Or maybe you can pray—say the Lord’s Prayer over and over and over and God will surely be there to help you because you are saying his prayer. But it doesn’t help. God doesn’t give a fuck when you are miserable—he doesn’t care if you pray. You can pray until there is blood dripping out of your mouth and nothing will change. God is an asshole that way. Even a relatively rotten person will assist you if you are begging for help. But your thoughts will just revolve through your mind over and over until you want to take a gun like the lead in Fight Club and shoot them out of your head. Maybe someday you will, but for now, you are trying to figure why God is such a jerk and you have to live like this. You wonder why you feel forsaken—well it’s probably because you have been forsaken and you don’t know how to live in that state. Because when you are a kid somebody probably told you everything would be all right, and now you realize they lied. So you keep lying to yourself, telling yourself it’s not such a big deal, but actually it is. Because now the dark corners in your basement have started to get darker. And bigger. The arms get longer and longer and pretty soon there won’t be anywhere you can go where they can’t touch you. So you start to drink or take pills or do some other kind of drug so you can’t tell when you get touched. But now the problem is you get touched all the time, but you don’t know it.

At least now you don’t care.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Six Word Stories

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write an interesting story in six words.

His six-word story read:  "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Smith Magazine decided to be like Hemingway and ask their readers to come up with six-word memoirs about themselves, and the results were overwhelming. The first collection of over 1,000 responses was put into a book entitled Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs from Writers Famous & Obscure,  and contained quotes from the likes of Deepak Chopra, Moby and many other celebrities. It also became a New York Times bestseller.

This was followed by Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs from Writers Famous & Obscure, Smith released Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, and  I Can't Keep My Own Secrets--Six-Word Memoirs by Teens: Famous & Obscure.

We are now a world of 140 spaces and quick information, our attention spans being reduced as the methods of spreading information reduces the size of the world.

Yet somehow this, possibly the tiniest of all personal diaries, makes us slow down and look.

We quickly learn about one another, and the impersonal world of fast information is somehow made personal again.

Here is my Six Word Memoir:  My soul is not my fault.

I hope you will leave your own Six Word Memoir in the comments.

Here are some of the latest from the Smith Magazine site:

My groundhog plans to sleep in.
(by Believe)

Followed my gut and got lost.
(by Bohemdeb)

I'm a bad influence on myself.

I am looking forward to reading your Six Word Memoirs!!