When God Stopped Making Sense.

Photo is the cover of the Japanese version of the novel “VALIS” by Phillip K Dick, which are the quotes referenced in the blog below.

“Perhaps this is the bottom line to mental illness: incomprehensible events occur; your life becomes a bin for hoax-like fluctuations of what used to be reality. And not only that — as if that weren’t enough — but you … ponder forever over these fluctuations in an effort to order them into a coherency, when in fact the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize. The first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar. And what takes its place is bad news because not only can you not understand it, you also cannot communicate it to other people. The madman experiences something, but what it is or where it comes from he does not know.”
-Phillip K Dick.

This quote made me realize why I suddenly “fell off the path” of religion, how my life got turned upside and nothing made sense, how my eyes sprang open in the face of reality. Every time I try to close my eyes again the universe is there to rip my eyes open and remind me to pay attention. I have been mentally ill for a long time. I can see the signs in myself as young as 6 years old. But the incomprehensible event, the thing that took that budding illness and forced into a chaotic blossom, was when my step mom died of cancer, 5 years ago.

This was my car crash. This is when familiarity left me. This is when everything stopped making sense. My step-mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose not to treat it, per my father’s insistence. Why? They believed “God” would heal her, and I believed it too. I prayed for her, worried for her, obtained an eating disorder I disguised as fasting for her. I hoped and hoped and had faith that God would heal her.

Then one day, I get the call that she has broken her hip, they cannot do surgery to save her because her cancer is so extensive, and within three days she was gone. On that day, god died too. I still hated her on the day she died. We had so much animosity between us. I felt my sin, aka my angry feelings toward her, caused her to die. I didn’t know it yet, but I was so angry because she was a narcissist who psychologically abused me.

After her death, I posted weird things on facebook. I talked about how she was “an example of love” and that she “gave her heart to the people around her” because that’s how she wanted people to perceive her, but in my heart I knew the truth. She was a hypocrite, she invited both of the people who sexually assaulted me into our home and put us in the shower together, she would spend hours on the phone “witnessing” to someone all the while she was ignoring me and my deepening depression which led me to attempting suicide, she cuddled homeless kids on the street and she would smack me when I got an attitude. I didn’t even have my eyes opened to what really happened to me until probably a month ago. I had no idea this was happening, because I was a child and impressionable and trusting. Most of the abuse she inflicted on me she disguised with Bible verses and Christian-ese. I knew she was a ‘good christian’ but I also knew she was my evil step mother who I hated. I was raised in such a strict religious home, that I willingly spent a year with a Christian-cult and furthered the psychological damage she’d inflicted by willingly participating in thought reform. It’s taken me eight years now to fully understand reality. There was been an intense amount of therapy I have put myself through to finally teach myself the truth about the world instead of the religious lies that were being fed to me.

But then my dad died. Just one day, blood clot travelled up form his knee and lodged in his heart. He was gone. Forever.

Not two weeks before his passing I told my husband I was finally ready to talk about my feelings towards my step-mom and my changing mind about religion. I never called my dad and set up that date. My biggest regret of my life. At this point, I’d already accepted heaven did not exist. So then again, my world shakes and falls apart. My holy and perfect father was now a soul with no where to go. Until I found out the real reason him and my mom divorced, he had cheated on her, with a prostitute. This fucked me up because my whole life my step-mom told me it was my older brother’s fault my parents got divorced. This gave me so many angry emotions for my brother that weren’t even justified.  This is the moment I really started to operate from the unhealthiest sides of my brain. How could my dad just suddenly be gone? How could he suddenly be unholy, he was perfect to me? How could the smoke of our happy religious life be clearing and reality be so painful and cold and dirty. Just like when we cleaned his house after he died. My child hood home was covered in dirt, infested with cockroaches, and altogether the alternate reality of my ‘good’ childhood.

“Just tell me why; why the fucking why?” To which the universe would hollowly respond, “My ways cannot be known, oh man.” Which is to say, “My ways do not make sense, nor do the ways of those who dwell in me.”
-Phillip K Dick

This is the quote that finally led me to the path of healing. Nothing is meant to make sense. Even though my unhealthy brain tells me, it makes sense because God cannot exist. This is just “the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize.” Still I say, the world is full of so much chaos, so much malevolence, so much pain, there is absolutely who no one can truly believe in the “good God” of the christian Bible without their eyes closed to reality and their fingers in their ears shutting out the truth. It’s just not possible. Unless of course, the Gnostics were correct in saying the God of this world is actually terribly evil. I could believe that, personally.

I’m here now, in a state of acceptance. I have closed the mouth of my brain and allowed the rest of my life to play out as it will. I don’t want to keep obsessing over the pain. I know the story is not over for me. I know somethings don’t make sense anymore, but that’s just cause the chapter hasn’t ended. Sometimes plot lines are farther reaching than a year or two in life.

My parents’ death opened my eyes to what the world really is. How life is actually very lonely and no one really wants to be around the realist. You have to be a little crazy in order to stomach this bitter pill of existence every day. Some people use religion, I use my mental illness, some people just numb themselves to reality, that’s cool too.

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
-Phillip K Dick

The point I’m at now in my life is that, everyone is broken. The unfortunate truth for someone like me is that my parents thought they were healed because they had “Jesus in their hearts” but that’s not real healing. It’s throwing a “scripture rug” over the stain on the carpet of reality. You gotta clean that shit up! (I’m cleaning my shit up with the Self-Authoring Suite by Jordan Peterson which I highly recommend!)

So here’s to cleaning our carpets and actually dealing with what happened in our lives. If you’re along for the journey, I’ll tell you all about what’s happening to me and how I am overcoming. Someone had to climb Mt Everest first. I just wonder if they were bipolar too and entered into a crippling depression monthly? Stay tuned.

Comments 2

  1. Dan Hillman February 22, 2019

    Rhea,

    I have so many thoughts, and I’m not sure that they are all going to be totally organized and coherent. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time right now to write a fully thought out reply that I can truly be proud of, which is too bad, because such a thoughtful piece of writing deserves a serious and thoughtful response. But time is a limited resource.

    1. You are an amazing writer! I love reading your writing. I love how authentic and honest and raw your writing is. You inspire me.

    2. It would be my privilege if you would consider me a friend and a brother. However I can support you in your life journey, I’m interested in doing so.

    3. You said, “My step-mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose not to treat it, per my father’s insistence. Why? They believed ‘God’ would heal her, and I believed it too.” To this, my response is: Oh my God! How foolish! How tragic! I pray for healing for people, but I thank God for modern medicine and encourage people to avail themselves on all possible resources to address their medical conditions. It is reckless, foolish, and irresponsible not to take advantage of medicine, doctors, hospitals, etc. Something was definitely screwed up in your father’s head – and in your step-mom’s head – not to treat her breast cancer.

    4. You said, “I still hated her on the day she died. We had so much animosity between us. I felt my sin, aka my angry feelings toward her, caused her to die. I didn’t know it yet, but I was so angry because she was a narcissist who psychologically abused me.” Oh my God! I can’t pretend to know the depths of your pain, but as I read your words, my heart goes out to you. What a fucked up relationship! What a mind fuck! I think there are few things as evil as a narcissist who clothes himself or herself in religion. I am so sorry that your childhood was so influenced – even dominated – by such a person. Psychological abuse is abuse. While on one hand, for the point of clarification, I understand your desire to distinguish between psychological abuse and physical abuse, psychological abuse is still evil. It is still abuse. Every adult has a duty to put aside whatever feelings or issues she is having when she is dealing with a child, because the child’s well-being takes priority. A child needs to be nurtured in order to grow. A child needs the adults in her love to exercise self-control, empathy, compassion, and interest in the child’s well-being. Parents should play with their kids, protect their kids, encourage their kids, and love their kids. Parents should be selfless and self-controlled when they interact with their children. The child’s emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and physical wellness takes precedence over the adult’s issues. I am sorry that you had to experience such a fucked up childhood.

    I contrast my childhood with yours not to make you upset, but to affirm in no uncertain terms the reality of the wickedness that you sustained. Thinking about what might have been may be painful, but hopefully, such thoughts will motivate us all to be better parents to our own precious children.

    I was the oldest of 4, and my parents loved us. I remember when I was about 4 years old, my father used to pretend to box with me. He had two sets of boxing gloves, we would put them on, he would get on his knees, and we would “box.” My mother would watch, and of course, my father would let me win. As I got older, my father taught me how to throw and catch and hit a baseball. He was so patient and devoted. He would spend hours throwing me fly balls, which I would keep missing. But I eventually got it. He taught me how to ride a bike. As I got older still, he coached my sports teams: baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. We used to run together a lot.

    My parents never went on vacation without us kids. My parents took us to Europe, to Hawaii, etc. (I lived for 7 years in the Marshall Islands as a kid).

    My father doesn’t walk on water. He is not a particularly good listener, because he would rather hear himself pontificate. And he sometimes gets angry and he can get very aggressive when he gets angry. But he has been a faithful husband to my mother and a devoted father to me and my 3 siblings – both when we were children and into adulthood.

    I remember one Thanksgiving Day – when I was in 8th grade – on Kwajalein (Marshall Islands). There was a tropical storm that day, but in the morning the storm wasn’t too bad yet. My father was the coach of my softball team, and I remember that morning, he, I, and I think 2 other guys on our team went down to the field, and my father pitched to us for hours. Each of us would get 10 good hits, and then we would switch up. The weather was getting nastier and nastier, and we were having a ball. We hit and hit and hit. My father pitched the whole time. Later, we watched the storm from inside our house when the storm got really bad over Thanksgiving dinner. It was one of my favorite memories from my youth.

    But not the only one… When I was 16, my father and I and a friend of mine and his father went on a week long canoeing trip together down the Fulton chain of lakes in the Adirondacks. About 85-90 miles. Two fathers and two sons spending a week in the woods. Canoeing together. Cooking over campfires. Bonding together. We met some interesting people along our journey. It was an adventure! I treasure that memory.

    My father is honest. He is no saint and he doesn’t claim to be a saint. He has been open and honest with me and my siblings about his deepest regrets in life – which is that when he was 19 years old and his father was dying of brain cancer and he was the one taking him to the hospital – on one of those trips to the hospital – my Dad just had a really bad attitude. His father wanted to just talk with him – just to connect – just to spend time with his son. But my Dad had an attitude problem. He would give curt, one word answers. His Dad kept pressing him. So, my father turned the music up. His father stopped pressing him for conversation at that point. The point was clear: My father didn’t want to talk.

    A few weeks later, his father was dead.

    My father has said to me that this is the biggest regret of his life, and as I am recalling this story that my father has told me multiple times, I’m recalling the story with tears. I am so sorry for my father and so sorry for his father – that when my grandfather was dying of brain cancer and just wanted to talk to his son, his son shut him out. I am weeping and sobbing right now just thinking about it. I never knew my grandfather on my Dad’s side. But the stories my father tells me – man – I missed out never having the opportunity to know him. But my father has been devoted to my mother, to my siblings, and to me. I love him.

    Growing up, I took it for granted that parents love their children. Only as I came of age did I realize that this isn’t the case. And now that I’m a father, I see that in so many ways, I’m not half the father to my kids that my father was and is to me. I lose my patience far too easily. I’m not as inclined to be generous. I do seek to imitate my Dad though, and when I do, my kids love it (wrestling with my kids, coaching their soccer teams, taking a genuine interest in them, etc.).

    Well, that’s all I have time for now. Maybe later, I’ll respond to the rest of your blog entry.

    God bless you, my friend. Grace and peace to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Healing From Religion – A Blog – By: Rhea Brim

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