If I had a penny for every time someone has told me to “pray” or “find God” or “leave it in God’s hands” or any variant of that, I would be filthy rich. After Adrian’s death, people have been quick to tell me that I need to pray and get close to God. Because when I admit that you and I are currently not on speaking terms, it is as if I’m confessing that my faith is what failed me. What people hear me say is “my faith is broken and you must fix it”. But all I am really saying is that I am angry with you. I feel abandoned and betrayed by you. If there is such a thing as God’s plan, that is what failed, not religion.
I’ve heard so many times before that in this life, we pay for all of our wrongdoings. So when you took Adrian away from us, who paid for what? He was kind, loving, and a champion for the underdog. He hated injustices and always wanted to do right by everyone. Did he really do anything so awful that he paid for it with his life? Or have I or his family ever wronged anyone so severely that we had to be taught a lesson? Are you really that cruel? After losing Adrian I have learned to hate that stupid cliché saying “everything happens for a reason”. Because no matter how much I try to make sense of it, I cannot find a good enough reason to justify his death. His absence feels wrong and completely unfair.
Someone once said to me that Adrian’s death was a test of faith: “God wants to bring you closer to him.” That has got to be a sick joke. Sure, I didn’t go to church as much as I did when I was a kid. So am I being punished for talking to you at home instead of talking to you in a church? As a child, I loved you so much and talked to you all the time. And I would have never survived my teen years if it wasn’t for our conversations. As an adult I have prayed to you routinely, thanking you every chance I had, faithfully trusting your “plan”. I have been so grateful for each accomplishment and learning opportunity. I have thanked you for my family, friends, and for allowing me to be a part of Adrian’s life. Do you remember my morning prayers on March 27, 2017? I thanked you for another day, and asked you to watch over Adrian and keep him safe at work. And do you remember my prayers that same evening on our way to the ER? I placed all of my fears in your hands. I turned to you – trusted you. You were not there.
No, I’m not ready to talk to you yet. Because the night you took Adrian, my world collapsed. In the ER, I begged you keep him safe. For days afterwards, I mindlessly paced up and down the house searching for him – searching for you. I promised that if you brought him back, I’d be a better person. I cried to you, and bargained with you and I even tried to compromise with you. But you did not answer. WHERE. THE HELL. WERE YOU?
No, I’m not quite ready to talk to you. Because there are people who have experienced tragedy, and despite a crippling loss, their faith remains unbroken. You did not make me one of those people. Although, there is something to be said about the person I am becoming. No, I am not brave, or strong, or fearless. But I am unapologetic in my grief. I am learning to stand up and speak up for myself. I am learning to pick up the pieces of this shattered life, and as sharp as they might be, I am putting those pieces back together, on my own.
No, I’m not ready to talk to you yet. Because the ugly truth about my grief journey is that there is a lot of work to be done. If we are going to repair our relationship, we both need to do some overtime. It will not be as simple as hopping from one church to another, or listening to a catalog of worship songs in hopes that one stands out. It will be more work than that. And I can’t promise that it will be easy. I can’t promise that I will not have doubts. The only thing that I can promise is that I will do the work. But for now, I am not quite ready to talk to you yet.