I have a bone to pick with Harold Kushner.
This book is pretty famous. It's been recommended to me often since Lydie died.
The whole premise is that God doesn't cause bad things to happen to good people. He doesn't even let it happen. God doesn't have this kind of control. God cries with us. God is in the people who love us who lift us up and carry us.
I can agree with that. I don't believe that Lydie's death was part of God's plan. I don't think she's in a better place. I think the best place for her is home with her dad, her brother, and me. I think bad things happen to good people.
But here's what I can't agree with:
Consider the following sequence of events. In the delivery room, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect or some other serious ailment hidden from his parents' genetic background which threatens his survival. If he were to die shortly after birth, his parents would go home, saddened and depressed, wondering about what might have been. But then they would begin to make the effort to put the loss behind them and look to the future.
But the child does not die. Through the miracles of modern medicine and heroic devotion of nurses and doctors, he survives. He grows up, too frail to take part in spots, but bright and cheerful and popular. He becomes a doctor, or a teacher, or a poet. He marries and has children. He is respected in his profession and well-liked in his neighbor. His family loves him; people learn to depend on him. Then, at age thirty-five or forty, his frail health catches up with him. His congenitally weak heart, which nearly failed him at birth, gives out and he dies. Now his death causes more than a few days of sadness. It is a shattering tragedy for his wife and children, and a profoundly saddening event for all the other people in his life.
So let me get this straight, Kushner thinks 0 years is better than 35 years?
And Kushner thinks that a baby's death causes "a few days of sadness"?
That a baby's death is not a "shattering tragedy," the way a 35-year-old's death is?
That having the opportunity to become a doctor, or a teacher, or a poet is worse than not having the opportunity to become anything at all?
Tell me I am misunderstanding this.