by Robert J. Lanz, LCSW
I just made that title up to get your attention. For those of us who, like cops and paramedics, voluntarily participate in the randomness of violence, it is hard to maintain any kind of religious belief. It is especially hard if you belong to a religion or sect or cult if it has a central tenet that some force or person or entity somewhere actually has some control over anything.
I have seen about as much evidence of divine intervention in the emergency room as a group of AIDS sufferers in a refugee camp in Africa on the day some idiot rebels blew up the medicine truck. That would be right before the rebels went ahead and raped the refugee women and children in a drug induced party.
Innocent bystanders, even do gooder innocent bystanders, get shot by gangbangers, run over by drunks, have babies with brain cancer or in some other way get totally fucked over in a manner they absolutely did not deserve.
Some people think that is a test of faith. Pretty cruel test I’d say. Especially since there are so many fools that have walked away from gunshot wounds, and car crashes and falls from high places and those types of things that frequently kill mothers of small children. They also kill fathers who go to work every day even when they feel sick so they can provide for their now fatherless children. After a few years of these happenstances, any normal person would have to ask himself, What’s The Fucking Deal Here?
This is a job with existential crisis built into it. Anything can happen to anyone any time. Of course, the more one puts himself into jeopardy the more the odds increase that he will take a hit. So wear your seat belt, always assume the other guy is armed, don’t get on the ladder after your fiftieth birthday and never shoot pool and drink beer in the same room. That’s about it.
Looking back on all the tragedy over the years I find that I can’t, with any eloquence, top my all time favorite bumper sticker: SHIT HAPPENS.
I always knew that. I should have invented that bumper sticker. The only difference between him and I was that he actually said it and I only thought it.
Well, there could be another difference. He’s probably rich with a house at the beach. Me? I’m still here trying to make the tragedies in life work out a little better if I can, trying to bring some order to a disorderly world. Kind of a religious experience I guess. The Lord works in strange ways…and I do too.