On prayer and the “randomness of the world”

For someone that doesn’t have a whole ton of religious faith, but believes in something greater, this speaks to me. I never stopped begging God, my mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends in heaven to save Benny during the ambulance ride. Parker I didn’t speak, I just begged and begged over and over. Bennett wasn’t saved, there was no miracle. We were left to try to figure this out on our own. Randomness is 100% correct, that is the only way I can wrap my head around any of what happened. ‘I’ll pray for you’ is often said to us, and I do appreciate the thought, the sentiment behind it, but I know first hand that it cannot change what we’ve been through. What makes me truly angry are the ‘everything happens for a reason’ people. Screw you and your platitudes, if it were your child, I doubt that you could understand and accept that so easily.

I do try to remain positive and faith in something greater, but it’s a struggle. I’m able to look at the fact that I have Darcy and live for her. I am lucky to be married to the most amazing man, who never once placed any type of blame or regret on my shoulders and has done everything in his power to work with our family over the last year. These are great thing in my life, amazing things. They don’t change the fact that Bennett is gone and no amount of faith or prayer will ever bring him back. I miss him everyday.

baby boy blue

After yesterday’s post, I saw several others that led to a related tangent. Clearly, others saw it too, as Gretchen so astutely commented, noting:

“Recently, there was an airplane that nearly crashed into a couple’s suburban bedroom. The owners were talking to reporters, saying something like “there were angels watching over us today”, and I thought, but what about the pilot and passengers who died? Did God forget about assigning them angels? I know it’s different than what is described in your post, but it seems to be the same thinking. People are so self-preserving and so accustomed to owing positive outcomes to strength, perseverance or God, that they simply cannot see the randomness of the world. Until it happens to THEM.”

A friend then sent me a link to this article, which she thought would resonate with me. It’s one woman’s reaction as to how it feels to…

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14 thoughts on “On prayer and the “randomness of the world””

  1. As someone who believes very similarly about religion as you, I am bothered by the same types comments when tragedy occurs. When people say “so and so was looking out for you from above”, when someone is spared- it truly gets to me. So what, your loved one wasn’t looking out for you? When people say “God has a plan”, I think that’s just a way for them to absolve themselves of the guilt of still having the things that another person has lost. Seven years ago, a friend of mine lost his two children, ages 4 and 5, when their Aunt (who was babysitting at the time) drove them down 495 the wrong way. She got out of the car, stripped them down and walked them into oncoming traffic. No one knows why, just that she was mentally ill. It could not have happened to a nicer person. I used to get teased in high school and the kid’s father (my friend) used to always stand up for me. How could it be in “God’s plan” for these people to have to go through such horror? Why wasn’t someone watching over them… and you? Why do some people say they are just “blessed” and the others are what, just left to suffer? I hate hearing those things. Even with the plane crash that just happened in Indonesia, the people who missed their flight- people keep saying how blessed they are and how angels were watching over them that day. What about all the babies on that flight that died? Who was watching over them? I don’t know how I would handle those types of comments if I were in your position. It would be difficult to maintain composure. Although I do understand that people mean well, I never have and never will tell anyone that has experienced loss that I will pray for them. If prayer couldn’t save Benny, with the loss of your mom and everything you have already gone though- than it’s not going to bring you some type of magical comfort now. It’s just something people do and say to make themselves feel better. If praying is going to make god comfort you, than why couldn’t praying make this not happen so that there would be no need to comfort you? It never makes sense to me. I’m glad that it helps some people but it seems so futile to me in times like this. When I heard about a plane that just crashed into a house and killed a mother and her two kids (toddler and infant) all I could think about was that 1. she was lucky she went with them and didn’t have to deal with the horror of that loss and 2. what the kid’s dad must be going through. The “why’s and the randomness of it all. It is exactly what happened to you and your family that horrible day. Random terribleness. I don’t ever think there is a grand plan. I think we create these little lives that breathe and talk and love and we just hope to hell that nothing makes that stop. The scary reality is what you know all too well. As humans, they are just as vulnerable as you or I the minute they enter this world. All of that can end at any second and we are just lucky for every single second we get to spend with them, listening to them talk, watching them love, and listening to them breathe before that happens. 😦

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  2. As someone religious ( although always questioning), these things will never make sense to me either. Katie, I remember those two kids on 495… I was so angry! And the mother and babies in the house where the plane crashed… None of it makes sense. I can’t imagine God sat with a paper and pen listing all of the people whose lives would end in tragedy. Horror, even. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so hard in my life that day over Bennett. And I know it didn’t help. And I probably still say ” sending prayers” or something like that to people suffering… I guess the only good thing you can take in that is that the people who do say it ( and mean it) won’t forget you or your tragedy. They’ll carry a little extra weight because of it through their days. It doesn’t make it make any more sense, though. I’ll never understand it.

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    1. Faith is a tough one. I never begrudge anyone that has it and like I said, I do truly appreciate the people that pray for us, because to them, it is doing something. I know there is true love behind those prayers for us. It’s just a struggle for me.

      It’s hard to struggle with it and get so many signs from Benny at the same time. Right now it’s just complicated. The randomness of the original post is what speaks to me. How something can just happen in a second to change our lives. Thats where ‘everything happens for a reason’ doesn’t sit well with me. I won’t ever get an answer to my why because there simply isn’t one. Unfortunately, I used to be one of those people that had to find reason.

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      1. Me too… coming to terms with the randomness has been hard for me. I’ve tried reframing it: it’s not that everything happens FOR a reason, but rather that when something happens, we choose the next steps, and that brings meaning to the event. In other words – I give meaning to my son’s life, because he can’t. I think we all learn things from bad things happening, but I don’t believe that they happened so we COULD learn those things – just that the learning is a natural consequence. “Everything happens for a reason” is my least favorite thing to hear, now. It just demonstrates such a lack of empathy!

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  3. your signs from Benny that you’ve shared with us have been incredible. Either you or the girl in the article was saying if the tragedy happened to the person saying these things (it was meant to happen, angels saved us etc.), I wonder how they’d feel then. I question that about myself and obviously just hope I’m never put to the test. . This isn’t about me though, and I hope Katie doesn’t think I was defiending myself to her.. total opposite, just thinking about it all!

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  4. I’m just catching up on this now. Tara b., I definitely didn’t think that at all. 🙂 I think what you said was great. To me, it’s amazing that people can still have faith in the face of tragedy. I wish I was one of them. Anything that helps something deal with something this bad is an invaluable tool. I didn’t mean for it to sound like I think that all people who wish prayers are just trying to make themselves feel better. I think that came out wrong. In the end, I know those words usually come from a really good place in people’s hearts when they say them. To me, I see it more like a wish from someone… that something, or anything at all could make this person feel better. I think comments like “this is in God’s plan” and “It was meant to be” are more about insensitivity than belief or faith. It’s just an ignorant thing to say to someone if you have never been through that type of grief, because like you both said (and the original poster), the person who says those things might feel differently if they were put through the same hell. Nothing will test the faith of any person like the loss of a child.

    Sheri- I definitely believe in an afterlife too and a lot of people are confused by that, including myself. People say if I’m not religious than I can’t believe in an afterlife but I don’t think it always has to be that black and white. To me, energy never dies. The signs that Benny has given you are beyond anything that I’ve seen or heard of. I have had very specific questions answered by a person that a I lost, in a dream that I had. Questions that could never have been answered by anyone else. I thought that was the most compelling “evidence” I had ever experienced until I saw the things that you have experienced with Benny. I can only assume that it’s because the bond between a mom and her baby is stronger than anything in this world. Sometimes undeniable signs like this can actually give you faith- in the only form you may need

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  5. Katie, you and Sheri always have great insight…no need to apologize! Besides, we are both here to support Sheri and to me you’ve always seemed like such a great support! Actually when I get to read your comments, I’m always thinking, wow why couldn’t I have said something so thoughtful? Ha! Sheri I’m so glad you’ve found writing to be helpful.. You’ve helped a lot of us in many ways too!

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    1. You are both so amazingly supportive. When I originally copied this post I was worried about offending someone, or starting a debate, but I realized that I needed to be true to how I felt to get through this. What a beautiful, respectful and amazing conversation that followed. Washington could learn a few things from you ladies!

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  6. Hah! That’s so funny, Tara because when I read your comments I always think you worded things so much better than me :). Sheri- I’m just glad that however we decide to word what we feel about your thoughts, that it somehow helps in any sort of a way. It seems like there are a lot of people who have turned their back on you and I can’t even imagine that. If there was ever a more important time to give someone your friendship, support and love it would be now. People can be strange. Anyway, I think it’s phenomenal that you chose to be true to your feelings with this topic. You aren’t here to impress anyone, you are here to grieve and to help others who are grieving and struggling with the same thoughts that you’re having, so I think it’s important you posted about this. It may be the thing that helps someone else get through at least one more day. When you don’t write for a while, I actually get kind of worried :(. I feel like those are probably your saddest times. When the missing him is too much to even find the words to fill a page. Here’s to hoping those are the times you get more little signs from him. (Oh and btw.. my friend who lost his son and daughter, he started an organization to honor them that has been going strong for 7 years or so. I know you thought of starting something at some point in Benny’s honor for supporting parents who have just lost a child. Let me know if you ever want his info if you want to contact him to see how he got it all started. When and if you are ready).

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