photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shit Just Happens

Something I've heard my entire life when an event defies explanation, when it won't fit neatly into how life generally works or what they taught in Sunday School, all that other stuff fell into the "Shit Just Happens" category.

The problem has always been, with me anyway, that I don't really believe it.

I believe in rules of sensible progression. I believe in the rising of the sun every day and the rising of the moon at night. That dogs have puppies and chickens hatch out chicklets. That eating healthy makes you healthy and eating crap robs your body of nutrition and vitality. Natural order. Cause and effect.

In a world ruled by Mother Nature, things go along pretty much that way with mutations and accidents that can be racked up as "unusual events and occurrences that go counter to the normal order of events"- literal Freaks of Nature- no one's fault, things to be worked around, or over, or through, but nothing that ruffles the overall outcome of the Universe as We Know It, or our role in the same.

Here's where it gets weird.

Sunday School teaches differently. On Sunday mornings we dressed in our best clothes, had a hasty breakfast of sweet-rolls-in-a-tube frosted with orange-in-color-and-flavor frosting (which was actually a treat, hence my remembrance of it), and made our way to church, where we learned that while we have free will, there are consequences for each and everything we do- not only for us, but for all those around us, specifically those we love.

Because God is Watching.

And like Santa, He's keeping track of not only everyTHING we do, but everyTHOUGHT we think. And He rewards and/or punishes us accordingly. Holy Moly, Batman.

Years ago I had an acquaintance in the world of raising and showing purebred Shetland Sheepdogs (those little Lassie-dogs). She was very devout and said she prayed over which champion dog to send her bitches to for breeding. Even back then, when I was an active Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School organizer and Christmas Pageant reception leader, I thought "Wow. Now I know why there are children starving to death in Africa- God's looking through the latest Sheltie Reviews". Because I figured God had better things to do and he gave us the Big Brains so we could take care of the small stuff.

I guess the Idea of God is there to make sense of the stuff we can't fit into Natural Order, and while that's great, it's also very dangerous both in a big way, and in little ways.

When Hurricane Katrina washed away most of New Orleans, there were many people who found comfort once they could say (with a mixture of relief and vengeance) "This was God's punishment on this city of Sin and Evil- Mardi Gras every year, VooDoo down in the bayous, and God's final straw was the planned convention of Homosexuals".

When an earthquake flattened most of Haiti, the same voices came forward with "proof" of Haiti's century-old pact with Satan- this was simply Satan's time to cash in.

Wars the world over are fought and won (or lost) according to whose god is more righteous- fighting for God is an easier pill to swallow for mothers hugging sons goodbye than fighting for oil, or dirt, or anything that's not worth the loss of a Soul.

On a tiny individual scale, God Keeping Score takes Cause and Effect to a whole different level.

Good things happen to Godly* people. Bad things happen to evil people.

*You can't say good things happen to good people, because unless they believe in your god, they're not REALLY good and will, unfortunately be in Hell with all the bad people. Shit Happens.

When the above goes wrong (and it goes wrong ALOT), it can be explained by "Only God knows a person's soul and intent- we must believe that the good person has lessons to learn that pain/suffering/maybe even dying will bring them, and the evil people will meet a bad end, although it may be in the afterlife".

Just what the hell am I getting at with all this rambling?

I'm tired. I'm tired of always feeling like anything good that happens to me and my family will be immediately followed by a bad thing of equal or greater value and I'm very angry, at over half a century old, of having that "anything good that happens comes from God and anything bad that happens is your own flawed humanly doing" mentality so instilled into me that I'm seriously, admittedly superstitiously, mortally afraid of anything good that happens to us-

I live in fear of the Other Shoe.

I just finished a book the other day- still thinking on if I'm going to recommend the entire book- it wasn't a book I entirely enjoyed or thought very well done, but THIS part was outstanding.

The main character had been through many attempts at getting pregnant, up to and including all the invasive painful fertility treatments, her marriage on the rocks, her psyche a mess, her self-worth shattered, and she was at the therapist's office.

The therapist told her "You have every right to be angry. You have every right to sadness". And the main character totally lost it. She screamed at the therapist "I don't WANT the right to be angry and sad- I want the right to be HAPPY".

I almost dropped the book.

I want that.

I want to be able to have something good happen to my family and not have to smile while swallowing the bile of the palpable, clawing fear that it's all a big cosmic set-up.

I want to believe, absolutely and completely, that Life goes along in pretty much a natural order- that the sun comes up and the moon comes up, that dogs have puppies and chickens hatch chicklets, that most of it is good- that good things happen because Life is good, and that all of that will occur no matter what my tiny small self does or thinks.

That doesn't make me feel helpless or powerless or unprotected in a big world full of dangerous things that can't be explained or any of that other stuff Sunday School tried in its (sorta twisted way it looks to me now) to protect me from.

Because frankly, I AM tiny. I AM just one tiny speck on the planet- and caring for my family the best I know how is enough. I don't WANT the responsibility of the quality of our existence hinging on whether or not I believe the right thing or pray the right prayers or give up the right sacrifices to make good things happen.

I want the security of knowing that when bad things happen they ARE Freaks of Nature that can be worked around, or over or through, and then on to the next good thing.

That Life is Good- not a series of Good Things bought and paid for by Bad Things.

Shit Just Happens, but I and my family have the Right to be Happy.



  1. I hope you can find some peace, Sheri. It's sad to me that you struggle with such thoughts and feelings. I have to wonder at that "Sunday school" upbringing to which you often refer. Seems so foreign to what the Bible teaches.

  2. Well luv, I fully understand what you said and agree .

    Sometimes shit happens but it's just how it is, not because you didn't sprinkle the rooster blood in the right pattern or didn't put that $10.00 in the collection plate instead of the $1.00...

    I have no doubt of a greater being regardless of his or her name, but I refuse to believe this being sits around with his or her finger on the shit button waiting for my name to flash on the big puter screen in the sky...

    Love ya babe....


  3. This is all tough. Tough, tough, tough. I've a feeling things are looking up though. =)

    On the SS Front - Not all Sunday School teachers (and denominations, and individual churches) are created equal. And as a liberal, new-agey, same-sex marriage lovin' church goer, I would like to say - It sounds like your church really sucked.

  4. yes, Phill. looking back on it, it really did.