Death and God
Death is one of those things I think about oh, on a daily basis. I trace that directly to My Job. The one where I cover heinous crimes and molesters and freak accidents and drownings and gruesome killings and not enough of that peppy Good News that people say they want to hear, but usually tune out in favor of the grisly, salacious, bizarre, and sensational stuff. It's human nature to watch the train wreck or the baby carriage that goes under it.
The miracles are far and few between. The fact the baby in the carriage survived with just a bump on his head...or that 5000 pounds of steel crashed onto the Bay Bridge and didn't kill anyone. How does that shit happen?
But what I think reporters think about a lot, a LOT LOT, is what happens every day. Death. Death of their spouses, their siblings, themselves, or the worst: death of their children.
Emmy has made my job that much harder. Because now instead of just sympathizing, I empathize. To the point where I'm biting the insides of my cheeks not to cry sometimes when I'm interviewing people after the worst moment of their life. I know, WEAK SAUCE! Brian Williams would never CRY! But I can picture Emmy as the kid in any number of terrifying scenarios. The baby left in the hot car, the toddler who got through the pool gate, the kindergartner crossing into the path of a car. It goes on and on. And don't get me started on animal cruelty, because that's just an extension of pure evil. I have strong feelings about people who do bad things to children and animals. Like they should be punished severely and without mercy.
Horrible things happen to the most innocent. Every moment of every day, somewhere something awful is happening. And there's no discernible reason why. And that's it. The reason The Good Doctor doesn't really believe in God.
Yeah. I mean, I know science and math governs his life and he's Mr. Logic McLogical who can figure out anything as long as it makes sense and has some rules in space and time. He's not anti-God or anything, he just doesn't really see how a god could let so many jacked up things happen.
Side story: I was good in school because I studied like a motherfucker and mopped the chemistry lab for extra credit. He consistently SET the curve in his organic chemistry class because he could just look at a formula TWICE while watching the NBA slam dunk contest and eating Round Table and then just FIGURE IT OUT on test day. So annoy. But yes, he is all about the rhyme and reason and cause and effect. That's how he relates to the world, so God doesn't really fit into that equation.
I mean, I'm not one for organized religion. I like that it provides support and inspiration for people. But I think it's mostly BUNK. Yes. Bunk. It is a great way to raise money, build beautiful buildings, and crown leaders. But it is also the source of many a conflict and many a war. "My God is better than your God" has started a lot of bloody and longlasting fights. I mean, does God really give a shit if you pray to Jesus, Allah, Buddha or Frank? As long as you live a good life and don't do evil things, I think things really sort themselves out later on.
But I'm all for having your own sense of spirituality and belief in a higher being. Hip Hip Hooray for that. I think believing in something greater than yourself and your own actions gives you a sense of gratitude and a sense of purpose and a sense of your own smallness, so that when you are feeling lost and out there, you know you don't have to come up with all the answers. As much as I like to be in control and Chairwoman of the Life Planning Commission, I also take a lot of solace in being able to let go, because fretting about things I can't change wastes precious time and energy better spent watching The Amazing Race.
I started praying when I was in 6th grade, I think. I saw the "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" prayer printed on a ceramic Bible figurine in Kmart and I was like, that's got a nice rhyme to it, so I memorized it.
I have since customized my prayer and added some additional thoughts beyond 6th grade Vicky's prayers to "get the coolest oily stickers" and "please God can I get a dog." I have no idea why I started praying, because I was raised in a non-practicing Buddhist household, but ever since then, I have prayed every night. Except nights when the Sandman takes me out first.
It's just a moment to consciously put my thoughts out there. It's a way to be thankful for a lot of things that have gone my way that I had nothing to do with. And it's also in the vein of those crunchy granola self-helpers who say you have to put out the energy you want to attract, and visualize what you want to have happen in your life. Hecka cheesy! But I tell you, I like it.
So when The Good Doctor tells me he doesn't believe in God, because there are babies who die from swine flu and drunk drivers who survive after crashing and killing entire families, and tons of other things that are totally senseless, I get what he's saying. And I have no answer as to where that fits with God. I have asked many, many a friend and religious leader, and I'm still looking for an answer to share with The Good Doctor.
But I still believe, and I still pray. It gives me perspective and helps me appreciate what is good. So that when I start thinking about death and what would happen if THIS or THAT, I can chillax and know that when my number gets pulled, hopefully I will have lived my best life. Thank you, Oprah. And while we don't see eye to eye on God, I think The Good Doctor and I have some good ideas to pass on to Emmy.