When bad things happen to good people by Harold Kushner

8 06 2010

I enjoyed this book for its honesty and for the fact that it doesn’t trivialize suffering to defend God.

“Belief in a world to come where the innocent are compensated for their suffering can help people endure the unfairness of life in this world without losing faith. But it can also be an excuse for not being troubled or outraged by injustice around us, and not using our God-given intelligence to try to do something about it. The dictate of practical wisdom for people in our situation might be to remain mindful of the possibility that our lives continue in some form after death, perhaps in a form our earthly imagination cannot conceive of. But at the same time, since we cannot know for sure, we would be well advised to take this world as seriously as we can, in case it turns out to be the only one we will ever have, and to look for meaning and justice here“.

Kushner also quoted from Joseph Heller’s book Catch-22 which I think would be a fantastic read! Here goes:

“Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include tooth decay in His divine system of creation? Why in the world did He ever create pain?”

“Pain?” Lieutenant Shiesskopf’s wife pounced upon the word victoriously. “Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers.”

“And who created the dangers?” Yossarian demanded. “Why couldn’t he have used a doorbell to notify us, or one of His celestial choirs? Or a system of blue-and-red neon tubes right in the middle of each person’s forehead?”

“People would certainly look silly walking around with red neon tubes in the middle of their foreheads.”

“They certainly look beautiful now writhing in agony, don’t they?”


feeling unequal

8 06 2010

i had always wanted to work with this non-mainstream population. perhaps it has a lot to do with my study on ‘coming out’ in uni.

there’s a huge stigma attached to them and the illness they often battle alone.

now that i am actually working with them, i realize how tough and involving and draining it can be. the needs, the complexity, the load, the expectations, the stigma.

it makes me question all that i know and all that i have. it shakes my entire being.

questions about whether i am even cut out to be a social worker. questions about what the future holds for me to continue in this line for a while more. questions about my capacity to handle stress. questions about God. where is He in all this? it’s difficult to answer the last question now that i’ve left church. of course i know that God is not confined to a man-made institution, but a part of me wonders if things would be different if i were still in church.

would i find this work less of a struggle? i think not. maybe my question should be how to find God in this. maybe the need is to answer for myself why i am in this.

doing this work makes me realize how weak i really am. of course, i am also becoming stronger each day, it’s an up-and-down line with a very gradual upward trend.

all the struggle for the sake of becoming a more competent social worker. and yes, this is what i’m made for.