“God doesn’t give you more than you can bear.”
“If it didn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be.”
I just don’t believe it. I don’t believe some all-powerful force changes all the traffic lights when you deserve it, and makes them all red when you don’t. I don’t believe an invisible man with a big beard sends cancer down on someone just to prove they can bear it. I don’t think children suffer and die in their parent’s arms because “it was meant to be.” I don’t believe in luck.
That kind of thinking makes a god too much like people, doling out favors to some, denying others. I believe in a bigger power, a god that gave us nature to learn from. Last summer, as the trees in my Washington, D.C. neighborhood died a day at a time because it didn’t rain, I never for a moment believed it was divine will. I believe people who are not using the earth wisely are changing the climate and the trees are warning us. By dying, one by one, until we get it.
I believe we ought to climb out of our SUVs, come out of our climate-controlled houses, stand on our front stoops and sweat. Look around and see what we have done. Humans perpetrated a lot of these things that were not ‘meant to be.’ Suffering that was born of our own making, not given to us to see what we could bear. That would make us not responsible for the stewardship of the earth, and in my simple way of thinking, that is our first responsibility.
Go grab what you have and fix what you can. You might not be in control, but you don’t have to rely on luck, and you don’t have to blame the almighty when things go wrong.
I don’t think people were born to suffer. I think we were born to be creative. I don’t have an answer for suffering, but I don’t think it has a purpose. I think we all die, some of us earlier, some of us later, and it’s good to know that at a young age and be ready. Tell people you love them. Do good. Fight for justice. When you come to the end of your life, you’ll know you’ve spent it well.
--Quinn McDonald is a writer who learns from standing on her front stoop and sweating. Even when it’s cold. (c) 2009 All rights reserved. Image: Journal page from my journal.