A Question of Faith

Steve is a boy of six. He is a nice boy by all accounts and isn’t one to get into trouble. I don’t know him. I just know someone who does. But who he is isn’t important. What happened is.

It was after school on a typical Spring afternoon. Steve was finishing up his day and getting ready to go. Looking at the clock he realized it was later than he’d thought. He was going to miss his bus, so he darted out of the school toward the bus loop. Just as he arrived, he saw his bus pulling out of the parking lot. Worry stole over him because he knew his mother would be mad if he was late coming home. She might even be mad he’d missed the bus even if it was an honest mistake.

His only alternative was to get home on foot and get there fast. So he took off running heading for the corner at the end of the street. All he could think about was that he was late. Plus he didn’t want to get in trouble, so he dashed into the street. At the same time, a pickup truck was turning onto the same street. Steve was struck and dragged under the truck for thirty feet.

Thankfully, Steve is fine. He spent a few weeks in the hospital and there was concern there would be nerve damage in his pelvic region, but there’s not. I have heard nothing else, but the indication last I did hear was that he would make a full recovery. What a great thing the human body. How incredible it is the power it has to heal itself when those on the outside think it can’t.

During his hospital stay and when things were touch and go, a lot of people began to wonder why or how this could happen. And then someone said something that struck me as a little bit odd. Referring to the news that Steve would be OK and would recover, he said “Someone was looking out for him.” Being a fairly religious person, obviously, he meant that someone to be God.

But I suddenly found myself perplexed. If someone was looking out for him, where was that someone when the driver was picking up his keys? Couldn’t He have made the driver drop his keys, or forget where he put them? It would have only needed to be a few seconds of delay. Couldn’t He have created a confusion that caused the driver to return to the house to check the stove. Something subtle. Or remember something else he needed to bring? Why look after Steve *after* he’d be rendered nearly dead? And if subtlty wasn’t necessary, maybe just stop the truck cold a few feet from Steve, the front end crumpling against an unseen force.

It was such a strange thing to me. To hear someone say this and feeling, knowing, that I completely didn’t buy that thought process. That little boy got very badly hurt and no matter how you look at it, it was not at all good. It was a bad thing. Very bad, and no good can come out of it (other than Steve thanking his lucky stars when, later, having more wisdom he can reflect on how lucky he was.) And I also think no one healed Steve but Steve. He wasn’t done coloring. He wasn’t done riding his bike and he wasn’t done dreaming about playing football for the Broncos. Steve deep down was watching out for himself and Steve repaired Steve. That’s what I think.

The next week, more news came of recovery and someone told of speculation by one of Steve’s relatives that the mother was being punished because Steve had been “unplanned” and she didn’t treat him very well. She loved him, but with a young son like that when she thought “she was done”, it was posited that maybe she felt trapped. Who knows, I don’t even know the whole of any part of their lives or story, let alone the inner workings of Steve’s mother’s mind. So I am more speculating than not and simply rummaging around in my own mind to reconcile something unreconcilable. I don’t judge anything…just wonder.

But it was shocking that the conjecture was that Steve was some pawn in a scheme to get the mother to straighten up and fly right. How can this be? Who would use an innocent six-year-old to teach some mother a lesson? That’s just sick!

I asked a friend about this dilemna and she said it’s important to have faith that all things happen for a reason. And in that faith, the reason doesn’t need to be presented immediately or ever. Some might say horrible events like this are tests of faith. Maybe. But it still doesn’t sit well. And I may never know, but I do know all things are connected. Thinking in a vacuum can be a sketchy proposition. It seems folly to just look at a single event and say it happened on it’s own as a singularity. Time is not made up of discrete parts that can be broken up and held out on their own. It is a smooth ribbon of events all flowing into each other. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It just doesn’t. If it’s thought to, reasons tend to get overlaid upon tragic events that don’t make sense in the continuum of time and logic. And for various reasons mostly psychological and based on my own life experiences, I tend to ask a lot of questions and continually evaluate what I’m looking at to make sure I am seeing it as it truly is. Call it situational awareness, to use the vernacular of aviation.

A friend died when some moron flew his plane into the Pentagon and my brother died when I was four due to a hill, a truck and a faulty or unset parking break. No one has ever been able to tell me why. Because sometimes there is no reason. We are not actually bullet proof and ten feet tall, things just are and sometimes those things just suck.

Whether you call it fate, faith, belief, accepting, putting it on His hands, Karma or whatever else, for me (and this is my thought and mine alone), I prefer reasons and processes and cause and effect relationships whenever I can get ’em. Even if they amount to life just handing me a steaming pile. Some would actually call that faith. So I guess that’s my faith and I will ask questions of everything to understand better.

I suppose all of the explaining and reasoning and rationalization is just a way for us to feel like we’re in control or someone’s at the helm (even if it’s only our own self-conscious.) Because if no one’s driving this train, where’s it going and what, by the way, I am doing on it?