Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Some years ago, I decided to stop by the interdimensional faith office (actually it was interdenominational, but this sounds funnier) to introduce myself. I was teaching at the university, and while I do not consider myself religious, I thought it was cool that they had the office on the campus since it is a state university. That it’s interdimensional, various faiths share the office on a rotating basis, although I dare say that I doubt the Wiccan faith was included.
Going to college is a stressful thing, especially in the first year, for students. Heck, it was stressful to me, and I was teaching there. I think it’s nice that there was a place to tell the students to go. To speak with a representative from their faith, I mean. It’s very reassuring for the students, which is very important for success in college. Heck, it’s important for success in any endeavor, actually.
The day I stopped in to introduce myself and find a bit about it out, it was the Catholic faith’s turn in the rotation. The room was being staffed by none other than a nun.
What is the story with these dumb puns? I mean seriously, nun puns? None nun puns, please. Or no nun buns. You can’t run with a nun bun. I guess a nun bun would be a hot cross bun, don’t you think?
Okay, enough of that silliness. I won’t even mention the nun gun. So, I struck up a conversation with her (back to my visit to the interdenominational office), and she must have asked me about my family since normally I don’t just open up with that in a first meeting with a stranger. “Unfortunately,” I replied, “I’m not married.”
Then she said something I really didn’t expect. She replied, “Well, maybe God wants you to be single.”
Seriously? God wants me to be pathetic and lonely? I mean, sure, here I am pushing sixty and clearly, it’s how things have worked out, but why would God want me to be single and without children? Were my children going to be big jerks or something?
If you believe in God, then maybe my life has been what He wanted it to be. And if you don’t believe in God, then maybe it’s just fate. Or, if you believe in free will, maybe I’ve just been too much of a jerk throughout my life.
It’s funny how some people feel empowered to make statements like that. I can’t blame her; as a nun, I suppose it’s in her nun blood (close, but no cigar). I hear that frequently about my status of being matrimonially challenged. (That’s just a fancy way of saying “loser that nobody would marry.”) I’ve always found it interesting that people feel like that’s somehow appropriate. It falls right inline with giving advice on how somebody shouldn’t be depressed and how they can just get better. And chemistry is another. Just the other day I mentioned to somebody I didn’t know that I taught chemistry. Her response was the usual, “ugh, I hated chemistry.” Okay, I’m glad you hate everything I’ve been about for most of my life. Would you like to kick me in the tender bits now? I mean, seriously, give me some advice on how not to be a chemist now.
Some people live and die on the belief of God’s will, and that’s okay. Everybody has their own beliefs, and all of them are equally valid (regardless of those who protest what they believe to be “sins”). Never let anybody tell you what you should and should not believe, including but not limited to yours truly. I myself actually am a person of great faith. I do know that there is a God, and I do have a great and very personal relationship with Her, but I also have a hard time reconciling the concept of a God that interjects His own will into our personal lives. After all, my understanding of the Bible is that we were all granted free will and were being judged on our choices. So if we are supposed to have this freedom of will and truly are being judged, why would She interfere?
It kind of reminds me of the story from the old testament, where Moses went to the Pharaoh and said, hey, let my people go to which the Pharaoh replied, yeah, okay. But then God “froze his heart” and sent the first of the seven plagues. Moses went back and said, hey, ready to free them yet? And the Pharaoh said, sure, you got it. Then God “froze his heart” and send the second plague. This happened five more times. Does this make sense? That the Pharaoh was always ready to free the slaves until God decided to intervene?
Well, if that’s true, then maybe God really does want me to be single and lonely.