I am culturally Christian, which means that other than Christmas and Easter religion doesn’t play a role in my life. I tried Christianity on a few times, but it always felt like a shoe that was too tight; restrictive, uncomfortable, and not easy to walk in. Christians have told me that faith in God and His plan are the only way to get by, and who am I to judge what other people need? Other than the few classic bible stories that I learned via osmosis, I know very little of the mystical ways of the Christian God.
In an interview, Stephen Fry was asked what he would say to God if he ever met him. Fry said that he would ask him “Why?” Why cancer? Why the suffering? And I have to say, I can find little fault in Fry’s line of questioning. Does God dish out cancer to people who got pageboy haircuts on a whim in the 80s? Do people actually believe that God gives people cancer to test them and their loved ones?
When my Father was diagnosed with cancer I lost count of the people who told me, “Things happen for a reason.” But there are no reasons, not really. Some people smoke their whole life and live till they are 100, others have never touched a cigarette and die a slow and painful death of asphyxiation from lung cancer. But things happen for a reason…
The term #Blessed, made popular thanks to celebrities with Instagram accounts, sounds like this to me: “God picked me out to have this awesome life experience, aren’t I super lucky?” It is putting the metaphorical middle finger to everyone else. It’s a humble brag and I hate it.
The opposite of #Blessed is seeing my Father wither away before my eyes. The opposite of #Blessed is thinking of every single moment that my Father will never be in my life. The opposite of #Blessed is what everyone is living, life. Sure I could say that I’m blessed because my Father was with me for 24 years. You might even be thinking, “Hey, things could be worse, he could have died when you were 14!”
And if you’re actually thinking that, then I want you to know: fuck you. The opposite of #Blessed is reality in all of its horrible and beautiful forms. It’s life. #Blessed doesn’t allow you to be anything but grateful and happy and that is the problem. It suffocates every other emotion of anger, frustration, sorrow, pain, and grief. Being #Blessed is like cutting a smile into your face like the Joker from Batman. I’m not #Blessed because I saw my Father undergo surgery after surgery after chemo after chemo after radiation after surgery to have him die anyway. Similarly, I am not #Blessed because I have straight teeth or a good singing voice. The opposite of #Blessed is actually opening your eyes and seeing that the world is full of suffering and joy that isn’t divine, it is simply random. And if you ask me that is much better than thinking some giant Man In The Sky is dishing out sorrow and ills like a sociopathic child burning ants with a magnifying glass.