Saturday, June 4, 2011

Still Dumbstruck

I am still absolutely dumbstruck by the events of 6/1. For those of you who haven't heard on the news, an EF03 tornado ripped through western MA in a 39 mile path of sheer destruction. I have family and friends in every single affected town and city, and the tornado missed them all by as little as a half mile and my house by about 8 miles. By sheer dumb fucking luck, we were all either just to the south or north of the tornado's path.

My former stomping grounds from my teenage years are all but totally leveled. People have lost everything. Again, by dumb fucking luck, only 4 people were killed. One of them, a mother, was killed when she acted as human shield over her 15 year-old daughter as their house came down on top of them. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it.

I've seen many people on the news and on Facebook talking about how they prayed for God to spare them and their homes, and how it was a "miracle" they came through unscathed. I am amazed at the cognitive dissonance that belief requires. It has taken all of my self-control not to ask - do you somehow think you prayed harder or had more faith than the people who lost everything? Do you think you deserved to be spared and those affected didn't? How can you possibly believe in and justify the actions of a god who would do something like that?

Don't get me wrong - I'm sure that if my house had been in the path and I was forced to take cover in the basement, shielding my baby from flying debris, glass, and mother nature's blind-ass fury, you'd probably catch me, an Atheist, praying my ass off too. I think that's just human nature in the face of impending doom - not necessarily praying to a god, but to anything, everything that might be listening - even the tornado itself - "Please Mr. Tornado, please spare my baby, I am BEGGING you PLEASE!" - throwing your will and desperation out there to the universe and hoping it sticks somehow.

But then if you ARE spared, if you are one of the lucky ones, how can you possibly sit there and say, out loud no less, that "God" saw fit to save YOU because he heard your prayers somehow over the prayers of thousands of others praying just as feverishly and desperately as you?

I am dumbstruck by all of it. The destruction, the violence of it, the terror I went through calling my family members and saying "There's a tornado heading straight for your house!!!!!" while I'm watching the shit happen on the news. Being in a panic the entire rest of the evening with every rumble of thunder, every flash of lightning, a yellow-orange foreboding sky above - the whole time saying to myself "But this shit doesn't happen HERE! Not HERE!!!"

And I've been having nightmares about it ever since. As someone who truly loved thunderstorms my entire life, I don't think I will ever see them the same way again. Ever.

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5 comments:

Comrade PhysioProf said...

But then if you ARE spared, if you are one of the lucky ones, how can you possibly sit there and say, out loud no less, that "God" saw fit to save YOU because he heard your prayers somehow over the prayers of thousands of others praying just as feverishly and desperately as you?

This nicely encapsulates the fact that religion institutionalizes the outrageously selfish--but age-appropriate--attitude of toddlers that the universe is centered on them and has no purpose other than catering to their needs. It is gross hypocrisy when religious assholes proclaim how "humble" they are. They are the opposite: they are greedy, arrogant, infantile pigs.

I am very glad that you and your family are ok!

Alyssa said...

So glad you and your family is okay. I can't even begin to imagine how scary that must be.

As for the prayer thing - that shit bugs me too. It's like they're saying those people who were injured or died weren't praying and therefore somehow deserved what happened :P

Natalie said...

I will never, ever understand that dissonance. I see it all the time revolving around babies... thanking a good god for sparing their baby. Okay.... their good god killed mine? WTF? I could go on....

It's really quite unreal. I don't have nearly the history with this area that you do, so it does strike me the same way. But it's still just so stunning. How quickly nature changes things.

Micro Dr. O said...

I'm glad to hear you and your family are all alright. I pray quite a bit, but usually for God to give me strength to get through things, or for peace in my soul when something terrible happens. I don't believe God makes things happen, prevents them, saves certain people, or anything else in that vein, which is indicative of an immature, self-centered kind of faith. I've also found it terribly irritating in the past when my southern friends have thanked God when tragedy struck close to my family. The guilt associated when you're perceived as the *chosen* one is paralyzing.

Selena said...

I agree with Micro above. I get the idea of looking outside yourself for STRENGTH or for comfort, but I do not get the idea that "God" bestows blessings on some but not others.

And usually the most "pious" are the least likely to do what Jesus would do. I'm just saying.

I am really glad you are okay. I could not even imagine how devastated I would be if the old skate shop I used to hang out at as a teenager was leveled. Those kinds of things hurt.

Selena

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