Disclaimer: I am an atheist.
When people learn that about me, they’re shocked, for a number of reasons:
A) I’m a mother
B) I’m a Texan
C) I’m married to a military member
D) I grew up in a loving household
E) I’m (generally) a nice person
F) I have a special-needs child
All those labels would would normally classify me as being a good, God-fearing young woman.
But, I’m not. God-fearing, that is. I’m still a good, young woman with plenty of morals, values, manners, couth, class and charm. I promise. I just don’t believe in god. Any god.
If you would like to yell at me for my views, my email can be found on the “Meet the Engels” portion of my blog. I’m not here to discuss my reasons for my beliefs, and how I arrived at them (for anyone blaming my parents, neither of them are particularly happy with my personal label either, so that’s a dead-end).
I’m not here to tell you not to pray for me, or Jackson. I love prayer. Prayer is awesome! You know why? It means people are thinking about us. I know we are on several prayer lists, and that whole congregations are rooting and praying for my son.
How can hundreds of people thinking about your child be a bad thing? It can’t–it literally can’t. So, keep doing it. And, keep telling me you are. It brightens my day, and I smile when I look at Jackson, knowing he is on so many people’s minds.
What I am here to say, though, is this:
STOP telling me this is God’s plan. It’s cruel.
As a nonbeliever, that is the worst thing you could possibly say to me. It just solidifies why I don’t believe in a higher power. Why would I want to put faith and trust in something or someone whose plan is to put my son through so much pain and suffering? Why would I worship something like that? Why is telling me this is “his” plan supposed to comfort me?
There is no plan. There is no reason. There is genetics. Science. Environmental factors. And, just plain bad luck. At some point in Jack’s development, something went wrong, and several of his organ systems got the short end of the stick. It’s no one’s fault, and it certainly wasn’t anyone’s plan.
Atheists get cancer. Christians die in freak accidents. Jews are diagnosed with rare diseases (IC, am I right, Miss Sarah? 😉 <3). Sickness doesn't discriminate. Jackson's medical issues are not some deity trying to get my attention– and, if they are? Wow. That’s pathetic. I’ll take my chances in hell.
That seems harsh, and I know it will offend people; I’m truly sorry for that. I would ask that you remember the points I made above: I’m still a good person. I just can’t bear the thought of something out there inflicting this kind of physical pain on a child, and this kind of emotional pain on his parents, and calling it a plan. It bothers me.
And, it seems the deeper we delve into the medical mystery that is Jackson, the more I hear it. I know it’s meant to be comforting, and maybe for some people it is. But, it only hurts and angers me. If there was someone physically hurting my son in front of me, I’d do my best to to stop him any way I could. I don’t understand why, because it’s religion, this suffering is supposed to have a meaning and a purpose behind it.
It doesn’t. It just is, and we’re dealing with it. Some days are better than others, and some days I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle things another minute. But, then the moment passes, and my perspective is back.
He’s my son. I love him. I would do anything for him. And, that’s the plan– to do whatever it takes.