Last night, one of my sister's friends was killed in a car accident. Alcohol, racing and drugs were not involved. He swerved to get out of another car's way, his car "went off the road" and hit a brick wall. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 25 years old.
I had a conversation with my uncle's wife on Friday night about religious belief. She is very spiritual, if not ardent about practicing, and truly believes in God. She believes, as many many do, that if you do good, it will come back to you. Conversely, your bad actions will only reap upon you the seeds you've sown. That there is a Plan, and God's role in this world may not be detail oriented, but is active nonetheless.
She insisted that we cannot understand God and his actions and this Plan he's got. She tried to impress upon me that even if I don't believe in religion or God, I should believe that my actions have consequences. That I have to believe in the goodness of mankind.
I disagreed with her. Sometimes, what life doles out is the thing of nightmares, like a mother losing her 25 year old son in a meaningless car accident. But this ideology tends to manufacture explanations and create answers for situations that are inexplicable.
I don't subscribe to the rewards/punishment-Judeao/Christian school of thought. I don't believe in a God that I don't understand, who has created a world where his presence is supposed to have a positive impact, but really doesn't. I told her people should be good and do the right thing as an end in and of itself, regardless of potential outcomes. I refuse to believe a person's actions dictates their fate, and that somehow blame can be a factor in explaining the unexplainable. I refuse to believe in some Plan by some being out there which indiscriminately causes happiness and pain. What is she really asking me to believe in?
I believe that I have to be a good person. I believe that I have to treat others with respect, kindness and love. I believe that I have to take the high road. I believe that I have to do the right thing every chance I get. And I think I always, always have to do these things, regardless of what happens in my life or in the life of those I love. And I believe that that's where it ends. I don't think I'll be rewarded, I don't think that things will go my way if...., I don't think that anything will happen, except that I did what I could to be a decent person.
Terrible, terrible things happen to wonderful people. Amazing, great things happen to awful people. That's the way this world works. There are no explanations. There are no excuses. There is no way to rationalize it. It is what it is.
This was all I could tell my 19 year old sister as she was sobbing in my arms, asking for answers.
Last night a terrible thing happened to a very wonderful, very special, deeply loved person. I can only say his loss will be sharply felt by everyone that knew him. I can only wish his family and close friends my deepest condolences.
Because of this loss, todays world is not as good as yesterdays.