By Rory Noble
You may ask, “Why another editorial from the old man?” That’s a fair enough question, so I’ll quickly explain. I could say that it’s because I am the editor and “I do what I want” (bonus points for reading that in Cartman’s voice), but the truth is I was inspired by another column in this issue to write this column.
When reading Will’s column about faith, it resonated within me. His words showed me that there are many people who struggle with their faith. That said; here is my story…
I lost my faith at 10:57 p.m., Dec. 24, 1997 in the lobby at Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, Ore. The reason was the death of my grandmother from tuberculosis. This was not the only event that led to my loss of faith, but it was one of the two most significant.
My grandparents were the people who took me home from the hospital and raised me. They took care of me when my mother and father would not.
When grandpa died in June of 1975, it affected me deeply. I was able to deal with the grief by being around friends who helped me through it all. With my grandma though, it was a different story. This was Christmas Eve. How could anyone die on the eve of the Christ’s birth? How could a caring and compassionate God let this happen?
Those might be selfish questions to some; however, they are the questions that I asked. It went further back though, the questioning; about 20 years to be exact, to August 10, 1979.
My son was born in March of 1977. He had a heart defect which required two open-heart surgeries before he was 48 hours old. I was young and not even remotely ready to deal with the difficult job of parenting, let alone something of this magnitude. But I survived through faith. I prayed often. Not those half-hearted prayers that some people do either. No, I spoke my prayers aloud so that if God was listening, he or she would hear.
Those surgeries repaired what was wrong, but only for a short while. When he turned two, things changed. The doctors said that he needed more work done because his heart was not pumping enough blood through his little body. We were crushed.
Surgery was scheduled at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis for Aug. 1, 1979. They performed miracles there and we prayed for another. We didn’t receive one. The surgeries went well, but the little guy never came out of the coma afterward.
The questioning began there. How could a compassionate God allow children to be born into starvation in other countries but take our little RJ away from us? Again, selfish questions, but human beings think in the “me” more often than in the “we.”
Losing two family members within three years of one another was difficult. I knew my grandpa was very sick with cancer, but he had led a pretty good life overall. My son though; he had his whole life ahead of him. Why was he taken away?
Faith, to me, is a fragile thing. Sometimes it takes one catastrophic event to rip it away from a person. Sometimes it takes many small events to do have the same outcome.
I continue to question. It is my nature and I can’t change it. However, now I question by trying to find answers myself rather than someone else’s interpretations of “the word of God.” I go to church. Often the sermon touches me in some way that makes sense. Often the sermon has no apparent bearing on my life.
The point is, I still question and I actively try to learn. When looking within myself, that activity shows me that I still have some kind of faith: the faith that there is an answer out there for myself…for all of us.