Today, or, rather, yesterday as I’m writing this at silly o’clock on a Monday morning, was a tough day. It was a tough day because I received a message that one of my students, Tomas, had died from cancer. At age 14 years his life ended. After 14 years his parents and sister went home to a home which probably felt more like just a house; a home which would never again hear Tomy’s dry sense of humor or see his shy smile; nor would they ever again experience the delight of living with this brave young man who, for several years, knew that he was almost certainly fighting a war against cancer, a war which, ultimately he expected to lose and, yet, he continued, so far as his treatments would allow, to fully enjoy the life of a teenager.
********** If you are religious you should probably stop reading at this point. **********
********** Really, you should probably not have got to this warning if you are religious **********
I imagine that you, like I, read Facebook; that you, like I, have “friends” on there who are God-fearing, upright citizens who post religious things. Last week someone posted something along the lines of, “Thank God for all the brightness in your life. Thank God for all the happy memories. Thank God for all the good things in your life”, and so on and so forth. My question is simple, if you thank God for all the good things in life, then who should you thank for taking away the life of a child? Not just Tomy’s life, but the lives of all the other children who died in the last 24 hours, who will die in the next 24 hours and so on until this world ceases to support life? If you really thank God for all the good things; if you really thank God for taking a personal interest in your well-being, then should you not also thank that same God for taking the lives of innocents like Tomy who actually was part of a religious family, should you not also thank that same God for all those who die from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes and other “natural” disasters? Should you not also thank that same God if you are one of the homeless sleeping rough who lost their home and family when some corporate banker made a decision which wiped out a company employing that person? Should you not also thank that same God if you have been raped, abused or violated in any way? If this God takes such a personal interest in you why is that He failed to take a personal interest in all of those other people who have been badly effected by events in the last 24 hours and those who will be in the future? Did they do something wrong? Were they all people like me, people who thought there was no such being as a God who really takes any interest in what goes on in the universe let alone on this small and relatively insignificant world of ours. Were none of those people “good people”? Did none of those people believe in the same God that you do? It’s surely impossible to believe that everyone who has died prematurely or in pain or had their lives adversely affected is a “bad person” who is irreligious isn’t it?
On my way to fetch my car from the bottom of the street I composed a poem for Tomy, not a poem of bitterness, nor a poem of is there a God, but a poem of my pain and disappointment at not seeing Tomy go on to a full and mature life as, in my opinion, he fully deserved to do. I would love to publish that poem here, in my blog, but I can’t, at least not yet, as I am currently on a course which requires that I publish, in the course book, a piece of my own original work: my poem for Tomy will be that piece of work replacing the one on which I had previously worked. Maybe I will be able to publish it here later. I hope so.