Some of us will feel more pain in this world…
I wrote a tiny blog here a few days ago, and I got a couple of replies. One of the replies has had me pondering since I read it, and I feel it’s time to tell you what I’ve been thinking. Here’s the part of the comment that I can’t get out of my head:
Some of us will feel more pain in this world…that pain is only given to those who can bear it, and it has meaning and value for our souls.
(The full the comment is found here, third comment from the top.)
My first thought was “Bollocks!”. At least the second part is utter bollocks, because the first sentence is true. Some of us will feel more pain. Think of all those who live in a war torn country, those of us who lose our parents at an early age, those of us who are bullied all our life, those of us who… You get my drift, right? We can all agree that some people experience more pain than others.
The second sentence though: “That pain is only given to those who can bear it, and it has meaning and value for our souls.” It’s one of the comforting sentences that only make sense if you A) believe in one of the western religions (mostly Christianity, maybe Judaism, and I’m unsure about Islam (I’ll have to ask my muslim friends about that one. If I get an answer, I’ll report back!)) and/or B) believe we actually have a “soul”.
Pain is dished out left, right, and centre, and there’s no logic to who’s getting it. The nicest person on the planet might lose both parents in a car accident, while the worst creep ever lives happily all his days. There’s no Lady Justice with a blindfold, a sword, and scales giving pain where pain is due. There’s no God (or angel) with a huge tome, writing down everything like an accountant, so the pain (and the rewards) are evenly distributed. Pain happens to people! What is true though, is that some people can take more pain than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re the ones who get hit by most of it.
In the same category you’ll find sentences like “She’s in a better place”. No, she’s dead. She’s in the ground, or burned and put in an urn. To believe she’s actually in a better place, you’ll have to believe in the afterlife. That somehow a part of you don’t actually die, but move on to somewhere else. It’s beyond logic really. If you die, you’re dead. Period! Oh, and before you start, let me tell you what I believe: I believe that I was ‘dead’ (or at least in the same state of non-existing) for billions of years before I was born, and I’ll go back to the same ‘dead’ (as in non-existing) after I die, and that’s it. Not existing is actually the normality here. You don’t exist, you exist for a brief moment, and then you don’t exist again. It is natural! (And again, before you start: I’m very happy to be alive, thank you very much, and I’d like to be alive for many more years, but I don’t fear being dead – I might be a bit queasy about the actualy dying part, but being dead, no not afraid of it.) In other words, there is no “soul”. To use an acronym from the early days of the Internet: WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get!
Yet another sentence, “It’s all a part of God’s plan”, but if you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe in God’s plan either. In the comment, the sentences was said to an 8 year old girl who had been a victim of human trafficking. I mean, what do you say to comfort an 8 year old who’s been forced to work in brothels for many hours a day? “It’s all a part of God’s plan!” Hell no! What an utter bastard of a God that must be to make a plan where 8 year old girls are explioted like that? Here’s my advice if you ever find yourself in a situation like this (and I hope you don’t!): If you’re a man, get as far away as possible! Let the women take care of the girl. And if you have to say anything, say something along the lines of “It’s over now. Let’s get you safe!”
“God never gives us more than we can handle.” is also one where you’ve got to believe in God to get comforted. And people have experienced so much pain they’ve commited suicide. What happened to “never more than we can handle” there? It is absolutely clear they got more than they could handle. If not, they might not have killed themselves!
I think people really should think before trying to comfort others! Here’s something you can say if you want to comfort someone who’s experiencing pain: “I’m here for you if you need me!” (And you’d better be there if they need you, or you’ve just made an empty promise!)
I know a lot of the comforting phrases are traditional. In the US people often say stuff like “I’m praying for you and your family!”. Pray all you want, it will not ease the pain. A friend of mine put it rather blunt when he said: “Prayer is like masturbation. It feels good for the one doing it, while the one they think of feel absolutely nothing!”