So, I'm going to discuss something today that I don't often discuss. Oddly enough, I had this blog post written in my head yesterday and didn't get time to actually get it to the computer. Then when I read my favorite bloggers posts today, a couple of them were about religion. I think it might be a sign from the Universe.
When Lu was in the hospital recently, my uncles (my mother's brothers) were visiting one evening when the pastor from my Grandmother's church stopped by. He read a bible passage and led us in a quick prayer. After he left we got to discussing how strong my Grandmother's faith had been and how she'd enjoyed her visits from the pastor. I said I enjoyed the pastors stopping by because it reminded me of Grandma even if I didn't necessarily believe the same things they did. I still take comfort from their words and the fact they are sending out prayers for us. My uncle stated he did not believe in God. Because how could God let bad things happen to good people? That statement has been buzzing around in my head for the last month.
Here's the thing: I'm the exact opposite. I believe in a higher power (which we'll call the Universe) because bad things happen to good people. You're probably totally confused right now, huh? I must admit I was too at first. But let's think about what defines a "good" person. To me, a good person is someone who stays on the right side of the law, takes personal responsibility for their actions, doesn't lie, steal, or harm others. A good person tries to help others when they can, pays it forward as often as possible, is kind, and generally makes a difference in the lives of others. I try to be a good person. I don't always succeed. But I still put the effort forth. If I asked a smattering of people I know, if they thought of me as a good person, I would hope they would say yes, and I think they would. And many times I've heard my husband referred to as a good person. I'm trying to raise my kids to be good people and seem to be succeeding for the most part. And yet, as most of you will agree, we've had a year of hard knocks. I lost my grandmother, Mike nearly died in an accident, Lu has had medical problems and surgery, I've had the knee injury and surgery. We've had some tough times. But through it all, I've still struggled to be good. We didn't give up on each other or rail at the Universe. We didn't blame anyone else for our troubles or treat anyone badly. We didn't try to cheat the system and milk out Mike's workman's comp...the man was desperate to get back to work. Through it all, we've tried to hold to our integrity.
But it wasn't easy. It would have been easy to complain and give up. It would've been easy to beg for money from others. It would have been easy to turn negative and nasty. It would've been easy to blame others for our misfortune. And that's what proves my point. Being a good person isn't always easy. Oh, in good times, it is. And that's the point. If no one ever faced adversity, their "goodness" would never be challenged. If it was easy to be "good" everyone would do it? Right? It's the challenges and bad times that test your commitment to being "good". It's like if it never rained, you'd never know how to appreciate the sun. If my life was easy, I wouldn't appreciate the effort I or my family put in.
I don't know if anyone but me is following my train of thought here, but I hope the message is getting through. Being a "good" person is hard. But the Universe tests "good" people for a reason. And I firmly believe that the rewards are great. I'm not talking about Heaven, because my views on Heaven and Hell are pretty nebulous at best. I'm talking about the reward of supportive friends, great family bonds, and just the joy of making some random person smile because I let them go ahead of me in line. These joys, in the here and now, are things that make life and "goodness" worth it. And the challenges, well, they're there for a reason. Each one teaches a lesson, strengthens my resolve, and moves me forward. The Universe is testing me. Hope I pass.
And to any of you who read this and think "jeez, Pollyanna, give it a rest". I apologize, but this is truly how my brain works.