Doug got hired right after I did this year, and within a month of being hired, was in the hospital with a heart attack, or a bad liver or something screwed up on the inside. Nice guy – I remember him from class. Chicago, tall, older kids like me. See his name on emails every now and then, but that’s about it.
I thought last week was bad. Caroline had emergency surgery on Monday. Pop came down with shingles later in the week. I sprained my back on Friday and had to cancel a training trip to NJ because the chiro told me the worst possible thing I could do was sit. (Ever try to go through a whole day without sitting? I did it for 3 straight days.)
So I thought my week sucked, then I got an email this morning that Doug’s 20 year old son collapsed yesterday while playing basketball and never regained consciousness.
Life just begs for metaphors, because the reality is too big to comprehend. We gotta turn it into a metaphor so we can handle it. “Curve balls”, “raging flood”, “terrible storm”, “hurricane”, “speed bump”. None of those convey the intensity of the experiences real life brings. I’ve been through divorce, and that is as close to death as I want to come without actually dying. Losing a child must be worse. My mind is numb at the sheer size of the reality.
Anyone who reads me enough knows I oscillate between faith and doubt pretty regularly. Sometimes my faith is strong and certain. Sometimes it is all but gone entirely. After a lifetime of this sort of back and forth, I think I have found some sort of solid place to stand. It barely looks like faith to me, and I doubt it would qualify as faith for most people, but I have to be true to myself and the way I am wired this weak, frayed, shadow of faith is the best I can do.
Life is absurd. Twenty year old sons dying playing basketball is simply absurd. And yet — it happens. Shit happens. It is enough to make you think there is no God, or at least not one who cares enough to do anything worthwhile for his poor creatures. But there is something inside me that I do not control that still believes. I would love to NOT believe. It seems as if NOT believing makes far more sense. But I can’t not believe.
Maybe that’s God. Maybe that something inside me that refuses to stop believing, that certainly isn’t me – maybe that’s God. I hope so.
Requiescat in pace, young master G.