Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WHEN Bad Things Happen to Good People

NOT WHY Bad Things Happen to Good People. Last night I attended a speech by Rabbi Harold Kushner the author of the well known book that inspired the title of this post. The Rabbi wrote this book following the death of his son. My dear friend, M, who's also a babyloss mama invited me to accompany her and I'm so grateful she did. Thanks M! I was inspired by much of what Rabbi Kushner had to say, but have to admit that I haven't read his book in it's entirety. My dear friend, M, recommended that I read it following Myles's death, but when I noticed all the biblical quotes I immediately put it down. I just couldn't deal with one more person telling me that Myles's death was part of some bigger plan that I just couldn't understand. I wish I had known a year ago that this is the last thing that Rabbi Kushner would say. In fact last night he said that no one has a right to tell someone that something bad has happened for a reason and I couldn't agree more! Here are a few things that Rabbi Kushner said that resonated with me:

  • All who have experienced any kind of loss have something in common, but the intensity we experience differs.
  • When we experience a loss all we can do is cope.
  • In the valley of the shadow is where the light finds us.
  • Everything DOESN'T have a moral cause, but everything does have a physical cause.
  • G.od doesn't give us a finished world, but rather a world that needs our intervention.
  • Losing a child may make you more sensitive, compassionate, patient, but anyone who's lost a child would give that up in a heartbeat to have their child back.
  • When you can help others the cloud of helplessness is lifted and you feel connected.
  • Ordinary people do extraordinary things.
  • Friends who abandon you (e.g., don't call, don't come to visit, ignore your feelings) in your time of need do so because they can't acknowledge your reality. They fear that acknowledging it will make it happen to them.
  • When the wind blows over some of what you built, you learn to live and celebrate without it.
  • Doubt is not the opposite of faith. The opposite of faith is certainty.
  • Hermit Crab growth and development as an analogy to losing and finding faith: hermit crabs have a hard shell that protects them. In order to grow they have to shed their protective carapace and at this point they are vulnerable and without protection, but eventually their outside hardens and they are again protected.

Many of these thoughts spoke to my grief over Myles's death while others spoke to my 5 lost dreams and my continual battle with infertility. I feel like I should explain how these statements spoke to me, but quite frankly I'm still tossing things around my mind. I didn't walk away from Kushner's speech with all of my questions answered, but I never expected that to happen. However, I do think that Rabbi Kushner allowed me to develop a new perspective.

Along with Kushner's inspiring messages a wonderful, caring friend, S, grabbed my hand and helped me out of my dark hole of hopelessness. I see a small light flickering and I feel a little hope returning ...

19 comments:

Kelly said...

((((Niki)))) I wish I could have been there.

Lost in Space said...

I'm so glad you were able to find some comfort in your darkness. Many thanks for great connections and for friends who go the distance.

I have never read the book, but now think I might give it a try.

Still right beside you......

Caroline said...

Niki,
I've been following your story and I'm so sorry for all the pain that you have been through. It seems so unfair to me. It is difficult to understand why these terrible things have happened. I am glad that the talk helped you. Hugs to you.
Caroline

Heather said...

I agree, I think all of those seem like great insight. I might pick up that book too.

I'm glad to hear that a little hope is finding its way to you.

Travelwahine said...

I'm happy you went, it sounds like I need to pick up a copy of the book. sending hugs your way.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

Sounds like you were able to take away many "positives" from the Rabbi's presentation. I'm glad it was meaningful for you.

Duck said...

Thanks, I needed that. I love this, I wonder will his book appeal to agnostic former catholics? It sounds like it may, and I will go to find it. It's so true, I thought I understood what kind of pain the loss of Myles may have brought to you before, but, only now do I realize that I don't have a clue, and both my husband and I think of you guys and what you have been through. I'm here if you need me.

mlg- believe-n-miracles said...

I actually have this book. My sister gave it to me when we fisrt were diagnosed with IF, I read it cover to cover. Since I lost the girls, I have picked up again and marked a few pages, it still helps.
I so glad that you were able to take a some comfort in his words.

Busted said...

I'm so glad hearing Rabbi Kushner was able to provide you with something positive at this horrible time. Thank you for sharing some of his thoughts with us - I've considered reading his book but so far hadn't for a reason similar to yours: being wholly non-religious I figured it wasn't for me, but maybe I'll give it a shot.

Thinking of you.

Natalia Ritchie said...

I glad you have seen a glimpse of hope. If that's all there is, it is something good.

Bluebird said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It seems you might have inspired many of us to give it a try! I am so with you - I refuse to believe our babies died "for a reason." Not buyin' it.

I'm so proud of you for going and giving it a chance (I don't know if I would/could have!), and I'm so glad you got some good out of it.

If, after you've processed, you'd like to share how these things spoke to you, you know we're here to listen and walk with you.

And yay for the flicker :)

Maureen said...

I am here listening.

Kris said...

I have Rabbi Kushner's book, but have not read all of it. I get and like the concept and I like the thoughts, but sometimes I don't want to know why bad things happen to good people, I just want the good things to happen so that I don't have to deal with the bad...if that makes sense. I might just need to pick that book up again and start reading.

Erin said...

Sounds like a comforting, peaceful session. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Thinking of you each day and admiring your breathtaking courage.

Love, E

SharingaDream said...

I wish I could have been there too...sounds like a great presentation and I'm so glad there was something that brought back a little spark. All it takes is a spark to make a fire...

Wishing you peace and all the support you need.

Sticks and Stims said...

N - thanks for sharing. ((HUGS))

Sticks and Stims said...

you can now find me at meinsideout.wordpress.com

Wewurtskihit said...

Some Rabbi's DO make sense!!

We talked to our Rabbi, whose Kabbalah class we attend, after our failed IVF's and he said pretty much the same thing Rabbi Kushner said! It helped - not much but more then a lot of other words from a lot of other people!!!

Now I think I am going to have to buy the book and read it!!!

Mark

Dora said...

Niki, I'm so behind on my reading and commenting, but I've been thinking of you a lot. Glad that flicker of hope is returning.