I’m Angry at a God I don’t believe in

People like to say that God won’t give you more than you can handle.

But that’s just not true. People are given more than they can handle every day, burden after burden. Sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be an end.

I need to know when it ends, because I’m not really sure how much more I can take.

I’m 31 years old. I should be thinking about my career, about getting a place of my own, about starting a family. I should be excited about life, planning ahead for the great future I will have.

Except I’m not thinking about any of that. Instead I’m thinking about how long I can make it before getting sick again and ending up in the hospital. I’m thinking about CAT scans and surgeries and oxygen tanks. I’m not excited for life; I live in fear of death.

What did I do wrong? How did I end up here? I don’t understand.

I stand here, day in and day out, hanging on by a thread.

And she doesn’t have to struggle at all. She spends her days free of guilt and shame. She fears no one. She worries about nothing. She gets to live in peace. She gets to live without sickness.

And that angers me, too. Why hasn’t God punished her? Why hasn’t anyone punished her? She commits sin after sin, crime after crime, and still she can sit at home and eat her cake. It’s not just. It’s not fair.

She has spent 61 years of her life in freedom, while taking away that freedom from her own children. And we are the ones who pay for her sins. Not her. Us.

This wasn’t supposed to be this way. I spent 29 years of life trapped. When I ran away, I was supposed to be able to experience life for the first time. The struggle was supposed to be over. I was supposed to be free.

Instead I’m faced with reality. The reality that my mother will never be punished, that I will never have justice. The reality that I will always be sick. The reality that I will have spent the majority of my life trapped in that hell.

I know I’ve made mistakes. But I did not deserve this. I’ve had to handle enough in my life, more than any person should ever have to handle. I just want it to stop, but I can’t. Because I am powerless. I’ve always been powerless.

I spend every night crying. I’ve been holding in the anger for so long, and now it’s starting to creep out. I want to scream. I want to hit. I want to destroy something. But all I can do is cry. And I am tired of crying.

I am angry at God. I am angry at my mother. I am angry at the world.

But I can’t be angry at my mother. I didn’t make her stop.

I can’t be angry at the world. They are not responsible for my pain.

I can’t be angry at God. I don’t even think I believe in Him.

So I keep the anger inside, tucked away, hidden from view.

And that anger is killing me, too.

The Cost of Silence, Part 2

I want to be angry. I want to hate the teacher that gave me that bunny. I want to hate everyone that turned their backs on me and stayed silent.

But I can’t be angry, and I can’t hate. Because I, too, stayed silent.

When I was in Catholic elementary school, students were encouraged to serve the church as altar servers (basically, assistants to the priest). I didn’t do it because I enjoyed it or wanted to be a good Catholic; by then I had already turned away from God. I actually did it for the money (altar servers were paid to serve weddings and funerals).

One day after mass, the priest told the other server I was with to stay back (we were supposed to go back to class), and they went back into the rectory. I didn’t understand what was so important that he had to go back to his room, but I shrugged it off and went back to class.

And then it happened again. The same priest, the same boy. At first I was mad, thinking that I was missing out on something. My instinct led me to follow them to the back, but the priest turned around and stopped me. I told him I wanted to go, but he said it was a special thing for boys only.

In that moment, I knew. Those words he spoke were words I had heard before. But I didn’t say anything. I left them alone and went back to class as if nothing had happened. I never told anyone what was going on. I stayed silent, just as everyone else had stayed silent. That boy was much younger than me and I failed to protect him, just like others had failed to protect me.

But how could I have known? I grew up in a family that taught silence. I was raised in a religion that promoted secrecy through its own action (and inaction). I attended schools where the tuition not only paid for education, but for silence as well. Speaking up would be too much of a financial risk. One allegation and the student gets pulled out of school, along with the thousands of dollars per year in tuition. It’s much better to turn the other way and ignore it. Just pray about it. Jesus will help.

Jesus didn’t help me, and Jesus didn’t help that boy. Prayers don’t stop abuse. Plush bunnies don’t keep children safe. Silence isn’t the answer. Yet people keep choosing it. I keep choosing it.

And now I am left with unresolved emotions.

I am left with anger I’m not sure I deserve to feel. How can I be angry at others for doing the same thing to me that I did to that boy? Every time any inkling of anger rises to the surface, I can’t let it out, because being angry at them means I would have to be angry at me. I can’t put someone down for the same sins I have committed. That would make me a hypocrite. So what can I do? I want to be angry, but I can’t. It’s not that simple.

I am left with tremendous guilt. I think about that boy, about the other boys that could have been hurt. All because I chose to be silent. If I had just spoken up, it would all be different. No one else could have been hurt.

I think about the children my mother could have hurt. If I had just spoken up about her, she would have been stopped. I wouldn’t have been hurt anymore. Others wouldn’t have been hurt. My mother would be sitting in a prison cell, unable to hurt anyone ever again. But I didn’t speak up. Instead I let my mother continue to destroy me. I chose silence.

And now I am the one paying the price.

Where do bad folks go when they die?

I’m not a religious person.

My family was religiously diverse. My mother sent her children to Catholic school (though that was more for show than it was for instilling the values of Jesus). We went to Church for the tuition discount. My mother also used God to justify some of her abuse, which drove me away from religion entirely.

I identify as an atheist, probably more so an agnostic. I think all of those years of Catholic schooling have left imprints on my brain, because there are times when I think about God’s existence and Heaven and Hell and all of that in between.

I also constantly found myself the lone atheist among those around me. At work, most people were Catholic. In my undergrad, I had classes with many severe Christians – and when I say severe, I mean the extremely judgmental Christians that give the rest a bad name. I tended to keep my views to myself because I wasn’t one for religious debates. People can believe what they want to believe.

Whenever someone makes religious comments towards me, I normally let it go, be polite, and move on. But the other day, an acquaintance of mine reached out to me concerning the death of my father. She said that my father would look down on me and be proud.

I felt sick. The thought of a person like my father gaining entrance into Heaven disgusts me. I thought Heaven was supposed to be for the good and just? My father was not good or just. He may have mellowed out later in his life because he became ill, but that does not excuse the person he was before he got sick, and the life he ruined, the heart he shattered, the soul he took away.

If people like him go to Heaven, I would much rather go to Hell. Some sins cannot be forgiven.

Some sins should never be forgiven.