Prayer’s been all around us since Mark was killed in January. People have forced prayer on us, even though none of us (including Mark) held out any hope that petitioning a deity would alter the universe in any way. I’m still curious where God might have been back on January 21. Perhaps he doesn’t travel Highway 90 in Florida.
Every time a tragedy occurs, Facebook lights up with “prayer” and a host of other religiously-draped sentiments. While some of those directly affected might find comfort knowing that there are a legion of warriors out there “wrestling with their God,” directing His/Her “comfort and healing” earthward, lives remain forever altered.
I’m not telling anyone what to believe. If you want to talk to your conception of a deity, have at it. However, to impose those ideas that have no actual basis in science and reality seems invasive at the very least.
Here’s what I think about the platitudes and prayers offered to those of us who’ve had our lives turned upside down by tragedy. Prayer and words that may or may not be infused with anything more than a sentiment help make you feel better and even heroic. But for us living with loss each and every moment of every day, it changes nothing. In fact, when I’m forced to endure another round of this happy horseshit, it just makes me tune it out.
My experience for the past several months has been that Mary and I have been shouldering along pretty much on our own. No God has lowered Himself (or Herself) and rescued us from the stress, weariness, or administrative overload the two of us have been living under. Mark had a house and it’s three hours away in Providence. Trying to manage the house, and then recently, dealing with the machinations of selling that house have pushed us to the wall. I think the only thing that has kept us upright throughout this process has been an amazing seller’s agent (the woman who helped Mark find and purchase the house). She epitomizes the goodness in people that Mark believed in.
Most of my days since June have been spent alone in a big house, trying to figure out how to pay my bills and move forward through the landscape of grief I’ll inhabit until I’m no longer above ground. Mary is back grinding it out in her job. I’m also out four nights a week tutoring. This is capitalism in action.
That’s not to say that life is hopeless and without some slivers of light.
Mary and I have managed to laugh between tear drops. There have been a handful of people that continue regularly checking-in and actually measuring up as friends in the truest sense of the definition. I’ll be out hiking with one of them on Saturday.
Words do have an effect on others. And words devoid of any substance and meaning fail to comfort or add any value, at least based on my experience with them. Please stop forcing them on me. It’s repellent.
Actually, the last few days have been pretty hard to take on social media. That’s why I’m tuning out. Because when a country music star mentions “prayer” on Twitter, people go ga-ga, to the tune of half a million of them “liking” it and thousands commenting.
Maybe another added “benefit” of living through what we’ve been through with Mark is that it now makes us hyper-sensitive to all the BS inflicted on us by a culture obsessed with false ideology, violence, and make-believe.
Keep that in mind the next time you really want to “help” someone.