a few months back, i got some news that triggered this rant. (me? ranting? i know, right? shocking.) the prognosis was bad, and it made me scared, angry and frustrated. but every story has an ending, and this time, the forces of good are winning out. the affable-but-worthless fiance became the affable-and-trying husband. and somehow, some way, my kid cousin and her baby girl beat the odds today. the birth went down, and everyone's okay so far.
i've been vaguely terrified about what would happen ever since i found out about this. i mean, the rationalist, the logical thinker, looks at something like this and thinks, yeah, i have a bad, bad feeling about all of this. there's no way this will end well. and yet, here we are. i'm so incredibly relieved that the kids pulled it out. there's still a long row to hoe, and i'm still holding my breath (not to mention that now the kid's going to have to be raised - another story entirely), but the big threat passed over. whew.
i was with the man when i found out about my cousin going to the hospital. he held me, he rubbed my back, and he said, "you have to trust me; it's going to be okay." i said to him, because i knew he would understand this statement, "it's times like these when it's hard to be an atheist." i don't mean it's difficult to retain my lack of belief in the face of things like this. it's literally challenging to be faced with something this potentially tragic and to know that there's nothing you can do except hope for the best. my family, of course, will point to this all as a clear example of the intercession of a higher power. and i even succumbed to the temptation of seeking comfort in the non-existent by asking my religious friends to pray for her. i felt like i had to do SOMETHING, being a thousand miles away with no ability to do anything anyway.
but even that request made me feel like a sellout. i mean, why would prayers from others matter? it's all steps in a dance that's performed to music i just can't hear. it's comforting, i guess, to think that prayer, faith, etc. has any effect on what happens in this world. and it's a "comfort" i will never be able to experience. that's why it's hard to face things like this: there's no comfort found in it, just the cold realization that there's nothing you can do but hope for the best and prepare for the worst. all the beautiful words and heartfelt sentiment in the world can't change that. that's the universal truth.