Reflecting on religion after death, turmoil

Logan Raschke, Editor-in-Chief

A lot of horrible things happened to me these past couple weeks.

On April 29 at night, my mother’s birthday, I got a call from my father–a call I’ve been dreading since the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester. A call I’ve been dreading for most of my life, come to think of it.

My father called to tell me that my grandmother–Grandma Ann–had just passed away that same morning.

Grandma Ann suffered from congestive heart failure. She had surgery years back and recovered fine. Just recently the heart failure was coming back, though, and she was eventually placed in hospice care earlier in the Spring 2019 semester. We all knew her time was limited.

My grandma has been a tremendous influence on my life.

She is by far one of the sweetest, kindest women I’ve ever met. Compassion, above all, was one of her best traits.

She grew up without a father figure present most of the time. I can’t even imagine living without my dad, but she thrived and flourished. Despite the adversity she found in her life, she made life worthwhile.

She married my grandpa (we all called him Grandpa Pete), who died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, and gave birth to four children. She was, like many grandmas all over the world, the strongest force that brought the family together.

I know for a fact that grandma had a lasting impact on every one of her children, including my father. She cared and loved her family so much. I’m blessed that her character and family principles rubbed off on my dad, my aunts and my uncle.

I was born into a family that cares so much about everyone in it. It’s a privilege and a blessing, and Grandma Ann and Grandpa Pete are the people to thank for it.

When I found out Grandma Ann died, I was mortified.

Every day that went by, I thought to myself, ‘Is this gonna be the day? Is this gonna be the day I get that phone call from dad?’ Every time dad called me, my stomach dropped before I answered. Every time he left a voicemail when I wasn’t available, my skin turned cold.

April 29 was the Monday of finals week. It was a day I had nothing but finals on my mind. It was the first Monday all semester I had off work because, well, we published the last Spring 2019 paper that day. My work there was done, and I had academics to worry about.

And that’s when it happened. I was just two short days away from driving back home to visit anyway.

It felt like a slap in the face. The hand, I felt, was God’s.

On my way back home (May 1), just about five minutes away from my father’s house, I hit a deer. My car got totaled.

Then I found out Grandma Ann’s flooring in the basement has to get torn up because of all the rain and flooding (it’s affecting a lot of people in the midwest). The excess rainwater literally crept up through the ground and ruined the flooring.

The day of the funeral, my dad got food poisoning.

Not more than a couple days after that, I found out my stepsister’s boyfriend got into a horrible car accident and could have easily died. Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt.

Remember when I said I felt like I was getting slapped in the face? Well, in light of all of this, that slap started to feel more like a punch. Or, more accurately, maybe more like a suplex–WWE style.

People like to place blame on people or things when everything goes wrong. Who was I blaming for all of this pain and suffering? I was blaming God.

I knew it wasn’t right to shift blame onto God. I was just so angry, frustrated, stressed. I felt betrayed by God.

Then I talked to my best friend, Elodie Bouwens, about it.

We were talking about everything that had happened in my life and how I was angry with God about it.

She explained that she believes bad things don’t happen because God wants them to; they happen because God gave humans freewill.

With freewill comes evil, harmful consequences. There isn’t just good on this earth; there isn’t just obedience on this earth. Evil exists just as much as freewill does.

This really made me start to think. All my life I’ve believed everything happens for a reason. While that’s literally true–nothing can really take place without some force acting upon something–there’s really no reason for all of the horrible crap that happens in our lives.

It literally gets boiled down to there’s good and evil. God could not have made these horrible things happen to my family and me because it isn’t even in his scope. He only knows what’s good: this is the work of Satan and evil, and my friend’s argument that it comes down to freewill really makes sense to me.

This helped me to separate God from the horrible things that happen in the world. It also helped me to stop blaming all that was going wrong in my life on Him.

Death is something everyone everywhere has to deal with at least once. It’s hard. It’s damn hard, but we get through it.

We get through it because we have family there mourning with us.

We get through it because we have friends there supporting us.

We get through it because we have God helping us.

It doesn’t matter which religion you subscribe to, if any at all. You suffer the same way I do.

The suffering you and I encounter ends with a lesson you are stronger for knowing, though, and that’s what makes it all worth living through.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].