Busted Halo

Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.

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December 28th, 2010

Questioning God


In October, I wrote about a difficult week when three close friends and family members were admitted to the hospital. Last Saturday I found out the worst news when I was told my cousin Silvia would never make it home. After eight weeks of battling an infection, pneumonia and what they eventually found to be an extremely rare form of cancer, she passed away at the age of 56.

While I know no one is fond of death, wakes or funerals, this was especially hard and I, like many at times like these, started questioning my faith and God’s existence. Silvia was like an aunt to me and was even my confirmation sponsor back in high school. She was selfless and loved nothing more than spending time with her family. My heart broke for my two cousins, her daughters, only in college, who will have to go on without a mother.

What is the reasoning behind this?

Why would God allow such a thing?

I really don’t know. The answers never get easier. Even when I was on the alter reading from the New Testament’s letter of Timothy about fighting “the good fight” and having “kept the faith” at her funeral I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

On the mass card we received, only the last two lines made sense:

God saw you were getting tired

And a cure was not to be,

So he put his arms around you

And whispered, “Come to me.”

With tearful eyes we watched you,

And saw you pass away.

Although we loved you dearly,

We could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,

Hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to

prove to us,

He only takes the best.”

Have you dealt with death? How did you make sense of it?

Originally published November 6, 2010.

The Author : Annie Reuter
Annie Reuter, is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where she uncovers what it's really like to spend the day with a rock star.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • 4D

    Annie, my prayers are with you as you go through this time of loss, adjustment and questioning. May God’s comfort surround you.

    It is hard not to question God and not to be angry; but, I firmly believe our God is merciful and only does what is best for His children. When faced with times like this, I find great comfort in the words of Isaiah 57:1-2 “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

    It calms my spirit during times of grief to contemplate that my loved one may have crossed over as an act of prevention and/or protection.

    May the peace that passes all understanding be with you.

  • Mary Latela

    Dear Annie, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m probably quite a bit older than you, but I make no claim to having answers. However, I feel hurt by that line from the Mass Card: “God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best.‚Äù
    Why would God, who created us out of boundless love, have to teach us a lesson by taking away someone we love. That seems mean.
    When people we love die, it does break us a little… and hopefully in time we heal enough to live out our life, NEVER forgetting that person, but keeping a tender spot in our heart where we can cry about our loss, when we need to.
    Please allow yourself to feel what you feel. God loves you. God would never rob you. We don’t understand suffering, except that it keeps coming. We can try to remember the blessings brought to us by those who have gone ahead. peace, Mary

  • Pat Taylor

    Our family has experienced many losses and deaths, but the most difficult one has been the death of our 14 year old, identical twin, to cancer. It has destroyed all of our lives.

  • Michigan_Pat

    I heard an interesting talk where the priest was talking about loss and death and life’s troubles. He said that it sometimes helps to realize they we are not walking an uncommon path. We are walking the common path. We will all suffer loss and experience death. Even Jesus suffered death. God is very much aware of our sufferings.

  • Sandra Merchant

    Death is part of life. Death happens. Yes, it happens when we don’t want it to happen. It happens when people have “their whole lives ahead of them.” Ours is not to question why, but rather to make each moment count–to treasure those moments we shared with those who have died, to put into practice the lessons they taught us. Finally, we must live our own lives in such a way that when death comes, as the African proverb states, it will find us dancing.

  • Mike Hayes

    I just found out that my friend’s niece and nephew were killed by their own mother. I started to question why God lets these things happen. And then it hit me: Isn’t that exactly what evil needs to triumph? We immediately lose faith that God can make a way out of no way when things turn tragic. What about God’s redeeming power to somehow make this right again?

  • James Oliver

    My son Ian died at age 27 of colon cancer. He struggled with the existence of God all of his life. He asked me to talk to him about my faith (he was not raised a Catholic as I was) and a few weeks before he died had a priest come to his bedside who baptized him, heard his confession, gave him the Eucharist, Confirmed him and administered the Sacrament for the Sick. I prayed every day my son would be healed in heart, mind, body, soul and spirit. Four of those prayers were answered and it may have taken the unanswered prayer to have helped him get right with God. I wrote a song about this event after he died called “God Has His Hand In It.”

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