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When bad things happen to good people - Ed Brock

I believe I have discovered the most irrelevant question one could ask in a philosophical context: Why me?

When asked specifically, "Why me?" can be a legitimate query. When a sergeant assigns a certain private to the point position while on patrol in a combat zone, the private would be well within the bounds of reason to ask "Why me?"

When a couple experiences a miscarriage, they could ask "Why us?" when seeking to know what action they may have taken to cause the miscarriage to happen.

We asked that question last week when the worst moment of our lives occurred, when the impossible happened, when we lost the baby.

The answer was, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Who knows." One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, particularly for first pregnancies, for a variety of reasons.

It's best just to move on, to take comfort in the fact that you can try again and, chances are, succeed. Wish us luck.

But at no point after the doctor struck us down with that horrible news did I ask "Why us?" in the metaphysical sense.

In 1981 Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote a book called "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." Kushner had experienced something of which I've only had a taste, the loss of his son.

The answer to the question of why people who are "good" are still subject to the cruel vagaries of life, according to Kushner, is that good is not all powerful and there is evil in the world even the Almighty can't stop.

Shouldn't that be self-evident?

But then the origin of religion is the primal human desire to stave off evil, to prevent bad things from happening to one's self and one's family. If you just perform this ritual and live in this way you will fit the definition of "good" and therefore will be immune from the evils of the world.

However, if you stray, then you will be smited.

Some may say I've suffered the wrath of God, particularly when you consider that we discovered our loss on Easter Sunday. I believe I've spoken out against some of the so-called faithful before and some of them may be nodding their heads and saying "Well, there you go."

Shame on them if they are.

But I don't presume to think there was any wrath in what happened to us, no intentional harm. It's just something that happens, like death, which happens to everybody regardless of what we do to prevent it.

So it's just pointless to ask "Why me?" The answer is simply "Why not you?" Am I so special that something like this shouldn't happen to me? Expecting such is a sign of immaturity, of detachment from reality, of naivete.

Bad things happen every day. You shake it off and move on, you take the pain and accept that part of it will always be there, a shadow of a memory that will linger long after you think it's over.

Whether there's a God or not, bad things happen and are far beyond your control. Some people find comfort in religion and I don't begrudge them that.

And some of us just keep in mind that good things happen, too.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.