Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Matter of Choices

Ever notice how, when your head is grappling with something, you are bombarded with reminders of it, even when you’ve shoved it as far to the back of your mind as you possibly can? Is it a case of heightened awareness? Karma? The movement of the Spirit? I have no idea. Evidently, all I had to do was sidle up to the idea of seeking some answers about things of the soul, to visit upon myself all manner of spiritual references from every corner of my sheltered little life.

The past few mornings, I’ve taken to drowning out the noise in my head by watching television. Four hours of "ER" and "Judging Amy" every morning on TNT. And, wouldn’t you know, in one of this morning’s "Amy" episodes, our heroine was trying to deal with some of the exact same issues as I am. I won’t go into a complete synopsis of the show. But, near the end, Amy asks a friend why he "buys all this stuff" (the friend is a Catholic) and he answers:

"I have a choice between three things: a.) That there is no God; b.) That there is a callous God who doesn’t care when bad things happen; or c.) That there’s a benevolent God who I have to give the benefit of the doubt when he looks bad." "What made you chose ‘C’?" she asks. "The look on my little boy’s face when I tuck him in at night," he replies.

I don’t honestly know which of these alternatives I have chosen. I’m pretty sure I can eliminate "a." I truly believe there is some thing, some source of all things. The universe is composed of too much intricate wonder to be a cosmic accident. And there are times that it seems obvious that mankind itself has some special connection to that inscrutable power. But whether we honor It or insult It by calling it "God," I can’t say.

So, though for many years of my life, I was most definitely a "c" believer, that belief has been tried, tarnished, and sullied by…age? Life? World-weariness? I lean heavily toward "b" these days. Maybe because I haven’t seen anything the like of a "look on my little boy’s face when I tuck him in at night" for what seems like a very long time.

It would be interesting to stand on a street corner with a clipboard and pose this question to strangers: Which do you choose—a, b, or c—and why?


  1. Neither one of those Lisa.  I'm agnostic, not atheist.  I'm open to the suggestion but also open to the arguments.  I want answers to the question "Why is your God better than my God?"

    I looked for you this evening.  I would love to sit and talk the afternoon away over tea and cake, or the evening over cheese and wine.  Must send you some pictures to bring you closer to visiting the UK.  Hmmm...alternatively, maybe I should start saving for a 'very nearly' view of the ring of fire.

    Annie :-)

  2. Having a child does make the miracles of life want to give you the Creator the benefit of a doubt, but there's more to it than that. I look at how when some things are at their absolute worst how the best in people can emerge and how people rise above circumstances that should decimate them, and that gift of giving some slack comes easier.

  3. my instincts tell me that the answers you seek may be found in the questions you ask.      

  4.     The only thing that ever made any sense to me was found in Rabbi Kushner's book, 'When Bad Things Happen to Good People.'   This man spent much of his life trying to answer these questions for others.   Then he had to answer them for himself, when his young son passed away.  You might enjoy reading it.  Tina http://journals.aol.com/onemoretina/Ridealongwithme

  5. It would be an interesting thing to poll...

    I see God the way you do...in terms of the complexity of the universe.  I believe in SCIENCE....but the realities of science are sometimes beyond explanation.

    I don't know that God is callous....but I certainly do not believe him to be a micromanager.  I'm a firm believer in God help those who help themselves.  He gives us choices and waits to see if we are wise enough to make the most of them.

    I have a friend who often says that God has a strange sense of humor.  Maybe it's as simple as that.