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Miracles - Kruszer's Journal
September 17th, 2010
01:22 pm

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Miracles
When a Christian friend offered to pray for me, and I facetiously declared: "I'd need a miracle!",  he asked me what that miracle would look like.   After some serious thought, this was my reply:


If I could have a miracle, I would want one year.   One year to be a normal person, with a normal body, and normal problems (I'll deal with heartbreak and money woes, the painful bunions and the bad-hip from tripping during a faulty fire-alarm at Indigo-Chapters.)   I wouldn't care if I died the year after, but I would want ONE year of being able to go where normal people go, eat what normal people eat, and live as normal people live, without fear of my health worsening or my brain getting re-injured.  One year to have normal relationships not strangled and tortured by the strings of my past.  One year to just be a healthy and functional human being - and not have to be a survivor and a fighter every day of my life.  

I decided some time ago that I would rather die living, than to live as I were already dead.   Quitting easily isn't in me.  Most people with MCS don't travel.  Many of them don't even leave their house and have to have others run their errands. They certainly don't ride public transit or couch-surf or put themselves in unpredictable environments as much as I do.    MCS is a condition that worsens the more one gets exposed to chemicals and every time I go out in public I am exposed to automobile exhaust, perfumes, chemical cleaners etc. 

But with the choice to fight and to pretend to be normal, comes consequences.   I often have a painful time breathing, and over time I've noticed myself becoming increasingly sensitive to smaller amounts of fumes.   [I went to Burning Man and] There were more than 50,000 people on the playa, and although a handful of people I spoke to were bothered by the diesel fumes Thursday night and the toxic garbage burning Monday night, only one person (me) had to spend both nights in the playa's pressurized hospital tent, having to be put on oxygen when her blood-oxygen levels were found to be too low.   The normal people barely noticed a thing; they partied while I had to hide indoors.    Similarly, the chemicals in perfumes and fragrances are healthy for no one (this list is unsourced but insightful - and indicates why perfumes/fragrances affect breathing http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/badfragrance2.htm) but I wish I could function around  them and not be so bothered and incapacitated by them.  

That aside, I also have the freak injury thing happening for me, whereby my favourite hobby is a very real threat to my mental health.   I have what essentially amounts to a floppy brain, as a result of past head injury inflicted on me by a temperamental adult-child who opted instead of raising me to simply lift me up and chuck me.   I think I may have mentioned it before, but I had a very domineering father who chose whacks to the head as his primary mode of communication.   This was compounded by a few other injuries, including the collision with the T-bar that knocked out my teeth when I was a teen.   The last CAT-scan revealed inflammation around the brain, and the current theory is that injury = inflammation = pressure on the brain = shrinking of brain tissue = more room for brain to flop around when head is bumped or jostled (ie sudden movement in vehicle) = even more injury.   I get concussions REALLY easily.   It scares me.  My mind is one thing I value most and I'm afraid I won't always bounce back intellectually.  I'm afraid I might go a little crazy (crazier?) the way many brain-injury patients do.    But I LOVE to dance and I loathe the thought of quitting...   If I could have one year where I could just dance and not have to worry about further injury.   One year with a normal brain so I could laugh off a lead's forearm to the head the way most follows do instead of spending a week in aches and dizziness...

Then there's my teeth...  Oh the trouble they have faced!   Six years of braces that included painful pallet surgery to uncover and bring my eye-teeth down through the bone 1 mm per month, faithful brushing/flossing... only to collide with that T-bar.  Another painful surgery to reattach teeth, later followed by countless x-rays and four root canals (two of them while I was no longer under family insurance - at a tune of $1000 each!), followed by the eventual breaking of those weakened teeth, the extraction of teeth, and then two years singing "All I want for Christmas is my seven front teeth" (oh yeah, I was real sexy those two years!) before I could finally afford the $1000 partial (that is now breaking apart and which I can't afford to replace right now)... And if that trouble weren't trouble enough, the accidental aspartame reaction that precipitated my MCS also led to the break-down of my enamel on all remaining teeth.   $3000 already spent on fillings/extractions and another round of that to come in upcoming months on newest cavities... [edit:  I just realized today how very bad ten of my remaining 15 teeth are - and badly inflamed too, which according to latest Health Canada reports leads to brain damage, especially with age] if and when I can find such money again...  Since we're asking for a miracle, I want my full-set of teeth back.  Normal people my age don't have the ability to cough out their teeth.  :P     ...Failing that, I'd like to have access to a good dental insurance plan at very least.

I'd like to not be alone.  This is something I don't always admit, even to myself, because I've grown to depend on myself and myself alone.  I trust myself, I enjoy being with myself and because of my past I learned at a very young age how to survive emotionally when I felt completely unwanted and unloved by anyone else.  (I wrote a mystery novel when I was ten!)   I can be oddly extroverted in social settings (my social fix) and if you watch me chatting up strangers like they were old friends you'd never know how alone and misfitting I feel.   I am rather verbose and talking comes easily to me but I have to make great efforts to develop deeper connections.   I have to be intentional about making plans to go out and socialize one on one - and following through on them.  Given the opportunity I often prefer the safety of my computer projects and photograph-tourism.

But we were not made to be alone and there comes a time when my longing for belonging and my need for human connection can't be fixed with blues dancing and the rush of being surrounded by hundreds of people.   I want to know and be known.  I want true and honest conversation, I want to be an integral part of some people's lives.   I want a family, whether that be by blood or by choice, children or adult.   My biological family barely knows me or cares to know my whereabouts, yet the Bible says that God "sets the lonely in families" and I yearn for that to be so.   I have great love and empathy for the homeless on the streets - most are there because they were forgotten.   When their health deteriorated too far, or their mind failed, when despair finally kicked them into giving up and not continuing to fight against their ghosts and their struggles, eventually there was no one left to say "I'm not going to let go of you!"     I'm terrified of ending up there.   I'm not the co-dependent type and I don't need to be married.   But I know I do need the miracle of family, a place where I can always go home and know that if I lose my fight, I will be fought for.

I want a home.  I long for a place to be and to belong and to be long.  I may seem like the eternal wanderer, but I'm truly not.   Homeless nomad is a far cry from my childhood dream of stay-at-home mom.   I'm sure I'll never be immune to the travel bug and will always love adventure and the challenge of the open road, but deep down I long for a place to unpack my heavy bags.   I want a garden to grow my own food, and a kitchen with my favourite tools for all my home-made wonders.   Tolkien aptly said that "Not all who wander are lost"... but some of us definitely are.   I'll admit that vagabonding is an odd way to look for a place to settle, but I just ran out of ideas and direction back in Ottawa.  To quote the hymn of my life, sung by U2: "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."

Which leads me into the next area.  I need direction.  Spiritual and vocational.   If God is anywhere, I need to be led.   I have asked, I have cried, I even ran out into the middle of the desert and screamed at the stars in case he was hiding behind them.   I know where my strengths lie, but I don't know where I'm supposed to go, what I'm supposed to be, how I'm supposed to support myself given all my obstacles.   Proverbs 3:5-6 promised us in Sunday School that if we trusted in God he would make our paths straight.   Mine have been anything but.   Circular and jagged.   Full of bumpy sharp rocks.    And while walking that path I've been asked to carry a really heavy back-pack that wears me down when I walk and crushes me when I lie down.

I won't get into all my God and Bible issues right this second cause I've discussed this at some length already on FB, but I'm currently needing some really solid answers that I'm afraid don't exist.   Reading Erhman's "God's Problem" has clarified the Bible's position on suffering and put to rest a lot of the trite Sunday School answers I've received most of my life.   But it's also opened a whole new can of questions and shed new perspective on suffering around the world that makes my own pale in comparison.   If God/Jesus is real, I'm going to need a lot more than maybe's and I-don't-know's to get me hanging on.   I'm teetering quite close to the edge of publicly declaring myself agnostic, and as I hear myself coldly mock Christian declarations I realize I'm slowly eulogizing and grieving the God I always thought I could count on.  

Miracles.  Why?   Because I believe if God is, he should be just.   Because I believe there is a Christian version of karma that SHOULD render things right.   There should be a fairy-tale ending for someone who has suffered all their days dontchaknow?   God should look down and see how grieved the little princess' heart is, and because he loves her so, he will embrace her with gentleness and kid-gloves cause she's been through so much already... and not ask her to suffer something else while she's already overwhelmed.  Now get sicker, now lose the love of your life and carry everything alone, now get exposed to asbestos, now have your bag stolen, now find out that you can't go to SFLX after spending so much to get here, because your request to volunteer never made it through the computer and you can't afford to pay...
 
Deuteronomy 6:18 "Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that it may go well with you"
  .... So when do I get to live happily ever after?

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From:crookedfingers
Date:September 17th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)

miracle

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the longer I live the more life becomes a mystery-glad you wrote-I have no answers-we just got to keep going and trusting the Lord-peace Jonny
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From:kruszer
Date:September 17th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)

Re: miracle

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What the hell for? Who in their right mind would keep trusting someone who has always let them down, hardly ever been there for them and who has starved 2/3 of the planet by watching them die when he was more than capable of intervening to help those who help themselves - and this without overriding so-called "free-will"?

You wouldn't count on a man like that, so why do we trust this God person? That makes little if any sense at all.


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From:crookedfingers
Date:September 19th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)

Re: miracle

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the Lord has never let me down-I know I have let the Lord down countless times-like I wrote life is mysterious to me-I do not comprehend the ways of the Lord-I do not know why He loved sinners and died for them on a Cross-I do not know why He continues to sustain the world-when mankind has rejected Him? peace
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From:kruszer
Date:September 20th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)

Re: miracle

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but that's just talk. "never let me down" what does that mean and how does one know God is there and "there for them" when all shit is rolling down the hill? Maybe you live a life of comfort and ease but what about the majority on this planet who don't even have their daily bread. How has God NOT failed the little 7 year old girl who prayed for food or medicine so her baby brother and mother wouldn't die of malnutrition, as she herself suffers the pain of disease the has no happy redemptive ending?
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From:tibbycat
Date:September 18th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
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"Because I believe there is a Christian version of karma that SHOULD render things right. There should be a fairy-tale ending for someone who has suffered all their days dontchaknow?"

Isn't that heaven? This life on the other hand is frequently unfair.

I used to get upset with the world not being just, but then I figured that it'd be worse if life really was fair, because then all the bad things that happen to you would happen because you actually deserved them! Eek! It's better this way. And it won't be this way forever. Hang in there Kristine.
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From:kruszer
Date:September 20th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
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how do you bank on a heaven when God's never shown his face on earth? And what kind of sick deity can only come up with a get-to-know-you/redemption plan that is so skewed and which hangs all existence on a better existence later? Really God? This was the best possible world/system you could've come up with? :P

"it'd be worse if life really was fair, because then all the bad things that happen to you would happen because you actually deserved them!"

I think it makes a lot more sense that way, and it follows the Biblical paradigm of the natural law. Sin produces suffering and the Bible is full of promises to the likes of "obey and it will go well". Whenever the children of Israeal were swept away by their enemies it was always when they were in rebellion. Basic suffering would follow the curse of Adam and eve on a pretty universal level, and beyond that God would deal one on one with us in accordance to our actions. Good living yields good fruit and bad living yields bad fruit. Everyone would choose for themselves and reap accordingly.
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From:tibbycat
Date:September 21st, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
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God's never shown his face on Earth? Really? History disagrees.

"I think it makes a lot more sense that way, and it follows the Biblical paradigm of the natural law. Sin produces suffering and the Bible is full of promises to the likes of "obey and it will go well". Whenever the children of Israel were swept away by their enemies it was always when they were in rebellion. Basic suffering would follow the curse of Adam and eve on a pretty universal level, and beyond that God would deal one on one with us in accordance to our actions. Good living yields good fruit and bad living yields bad fruit. Everyone would choose for themselves and reap accordingly."

I think your exegesis is a little off there. You sound like Job's friends who told him that his suffering was the result of him doing something wrong or because God must've hated him.

It also sounds like the dodgy prosperity gospel that some Pentecostals love to espouse, or gnostic crap like 'the secret'. (see here for a funny secular explanation why 'the secret' is awful)

There's a few further things I'm thinking here:

1) You sound like you have a sense of entitlement, i.e. that God owes you a happy life. He never made such a claim. If anything, as Christians we're told that our life may actually get harder instead, as the world won't understand us. But, God did promise to save us from sin's ultimate consequence which is death, and he has. That's what he promised. And that's a promised he's fulfilled.

2) I'm reminded of Jesus' parable of the workers in the field (Matt.20: 1-16). The landowner promised all the workers the same - he promised them all a denarius, and gave the same to the workers who started at the beginning of the day and to those who started late in the day. And I think that's how God is to us. Whether you're a poor starving child in Africa, whether you're you or me, or whether you're some rich person born with a silver spoon in their mouth, we're all promised the same thing - to be saved from death. But we were never promised that this life would be super awesome and free of troubles.

3) Perspective: Your life may suck, and I certainly know the pain of heartbreak from a lover leaving you, but, our lives could be MUCH MUCH worse. And for millions of people in the world, our lives are paradise in comparison. I don't say that to trivialize your grievances and to suggest that your problems aren't important, because that's not the case at all, but just to point out how many many people have it worse. And why? Because the universe is fundamentally unfair. It's all there in the first law of thermodymics: "you can't win".
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From:kruszer
Date:September 24th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
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I'm talking about the classic view of suffering as the Bible presents it. There are others but I didn't find them relevant enough to get into right then. There is actually good evidence that what Job's friends said that made God so angry is missing from the text that became known as the book of Job (which was really two texts put into one). The view they were presenting to Job was the same one that the early texts of law and pentetuche establish. Do well = get well. Do bad = get bad.


1a. I'm not a Christian. Second life isn't any harder for westernized Christians. Most blend back in. And if the world hates them it's cause they act like jackasses.

1.b Those promises of a happier better life don't mean squat when I can't trust or believe him right now. That's about as ludicrous as trusting a salesman selling you an invisible car. "But there's no car there!" ... "Yes, but if you buy it it'll be there when you open the door and sit down on the seat. Just buy it!"

2. That's bullshit. That's the best possible world God could come up with? "I'll just create a bunch of people and ask them to walk in shit for 70 years and only give them a better life next time around. But first you got to be born into a life of crap and prove your ability to trust and not blame the one who is to blame for all your problems." Mmmm Nice!

3. When you have a pounding headache do you lie on the couch and moan or do you dance with joy because you don't have AIDS? Pain in incomparable. The worst you've ever had is the worst you've ever had and pain is always painful even if someone else's pain is greater than yours. It's "fundamentally unfair" to try to compare one's suffering to another. We all aspire to be the healthiest and happiest version of who we are. Anything short of that will hurt.
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From:velvetelvis
Date:November 19th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)

God vs everything

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Hmm...

I can answer 1-3, heck I feel like I have to answer that everyday.

First I want to offer humbly, Kristine, that you seem to be stacking suffering against God, which is perhaps common, and I think fair. But I'm going to put some more chips on the table for your bet against God. I'm going to stack ecstasy, health, marriage, children, long life, spiritual gifts including prophecy, discernment, healing, wisdom, teaching, power over the weather, knowledge, and I'm going to throw the entire world in as a kicker, against God. Does what God offers beat that? Perhaps I could ask, is God bigger than that? If we are in ecstasy or suffering, whether we are able to feed the hungry or not, does God have a higher purpose? I want to say that God offers more than ecstasy or suffering, more than any kind of power, more than the world, and certainly more than a normal life.

Jesus said "what shall it profit a man to gain the world, but lose his soul?"

I am reminded of the 40 days in the wilderness when Jesus was tempted, it seems that he was, indeed, tempted with some of the miracles for which you are asking, but he would have to bow and worship Satan. For some reason, God wants to say that who you worship is more important than food or shelter. Well food and shelter is pretty important, so whoever God is, he had better be absolutely amazing, or I may have to agree with you that our faith is an embarrassment.

For some reason I am always drawn to the thief on the cross. I think everything you have to say against God applies to him. I mean here he is at the height of human suffering, only a few hours to live, and he finds, on the cross next to him, something more important -and yet not something which gets him off the cross, or which eases his pain. Nevertheless, rather than curse the God who has power over life and death, he humbles himself and receives what Christ is offering. And I want to say that the thief's confession doesn't make any sense at all, unless you meet Jesus.

How are you going to believe that God is really straight up bigger than all this unless you meet him? Well you might believe by reading the bible, or by looking at the grandeur of creation, as do many. But that's actually a little more of a rhetorical question than I'm letting on. You see, I fear that things may get worse, Kristine, because God may indeed endeavor to show you how big he is. I remember how God spoke in a loud voice to Moses on the mountain, so that Israel would hear, and know that Moses wasn't just making it all up. Israel told Moses to ask God not to speak to them anymore, because they thought they would die. I think God is really really big, Kristine. Everything I have added for your argument against God will not measure up. I think though the world could heal you, and take you in as a member of its family and find you a home, it will never approach the plans that God has for your life.

How my heart aches for you, dear Kristine. I’ve some difficult lessons to learn, myself.

--May you touch the hands of Jesus, and believe
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From:g4c9z
Date:January 27th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
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That's horrific that you were treated that way by your father.

Regarding the dancing-concussion problem: what about dancing with a helmet?
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