I really don’t talk about faith anymore. Be it in this website or in conversation. In many ways, I do my best to avoid it. I’m conscious about how I phrase things. My fallback is to usually substitute the word “goodness” for God. As in, thank goodness. I’m not going to write about faith today either. Well, not directly. It’s not that I’m opposed to the faithful… or the unfaithful, for that matter.
I’ve said it — and others have too — that I lost faith. When did this happen? I remember the exact moment well, but I suppose it’s really not relevant (to my story). What is relevant is I didn’t exactly lose faith. This would imply I don’t know where it is. Or, that I’m currently looking for it. More accurately, I gently put it down and walked away. I didn’t lay waste to it. I didn’t curse it. I’m not being confrontational. No, I simply chose to set it down and be rid of it.
For sure, this was a turning point in my life. A huge one. In a way, I felt somehow cheated that I devoted a lifetime to it. Suddenly, the magic was gone. *poof* I knew what I was giving up and it was painful to know this was out of my life. I guess what I’m
saying asking is if you know just how badly it hurts to not believe in miracles?
To be clear, I neither believe nor reject a God’s existence. I’m quite certain there is something out there bigger than all of us. That makes complete sense to me. I suppose I just feel like this “something” either simply doesn’t care or isn’t paying attention. The alternative, that I refuse to accept, is it turned it’s back on Ryan. No matter, on a personal level it’s all the same outcome.
This post is more about a process I experienced. I make no claim as to whether I’m right or wrong. I know some might be thinking of quoting scripture to me right about now. This will not help, since I have discounted it’s validity. Really, I’m not worth it, as I consider my faith as water under the bridge. I’m so far downstream now, and the rapids are so strong, that return is most likely impossible… and I lost my paddle long ago. Okay, so that was a weak reference to being up a creek without a paddle. Sue me.
Both, flat-out and round-about, people told me I’m to blame. I’ve been told that I don’t pray correctly. I’ve been told I must forgive before Ryan will heal (i.e., it’s up to Ryan to forgive, not me). I’ve been told I work for the devil. I’ve been told, essentially, that I’m the reason for all of this. Hey, at least no one (yet) has claimed they see demons sitting on my shoulders.
Without a doubt, I do take the low road from time-to-time. Sheesh, I probably can even take credit for widen it by a lane or two. I do try to keep the high road in sight and pop over on occasion. Still, just maybe, there are multiple paths to the same place? Be it eternal oblivion or something else.[poll id=”54″]
Perhaps scripture is big enough for you to relate to some of what is in it. I think Job and Ecclesiastes speak directly to what you’re feeling, to have had everything, to have lost everything, and still to go on and find no acceptable answer as to why.
I pray you can let go of Vantrease and May because I don’t think hating them can sustain you over the long term. Whether miracles come or not, it will never be a relief to think of the years spent with their names tearing holes in your heart and your mind.
Very few people can relate to what you’re going through, but many people can relate to there being no acceptable answer as to why. I think faith comes in pressing on all the same.
I understand how you feel and pray daily for you and Ryan.
I can completely understand this post on so many levels. That’s why it is important for people to live their live with honor, dignity and love. Regardless of what faith you or anyone else does or does not have, I am a firm believer that you can be part of making your own miracles. The human brain, the human heart and the human spirit is a force to be reckoned with. Lots of love to you all.
You know what I’ve been taught, Ken? I’ve been taught that God knows who the stronger ones are in this world. He knows that you–and especially Ryan–are stronger than most people, especially Vantrease and May. What I’ve also learned that the stronger you are, the greater your trials, because God knows what you can handle, and he knows what can only make you stronger. This greater greater being who you know is there has not turned his back on you or Ryan. He will never give you more than you can handle. He knows that in all the strength that you have, you are doing everything right with Ryan. Because that’s how wonderful of a father you are.
So don’t let this trial, no matter how monumental it is, eat away at you. Because those young men are going to get what’s theirs for what they did to your son. Just remember, if you believe in Heaven, you can can believe that Ryan will most definitely be his old self again, just as you had always remembered him, even if it might not be in this life.
Claire Craven says
Thank you for your honesty – your ability to be so real and vulnerable in your posts cause many of us to reflect deeply on what is truly important in life. Even Jesus had criticizers – I hope you have shaken the dust from your feet and moved on from them. We will pray knowing you cannot and if we were in the same place, we could not. xxx
jane martellino says
But I also acknowledge that there are times when circumstances, esp. violent ones like Ryan’s cause us to lose or give up our faith. Yet, I believe it is during those times, that others stand in the gap for us and they believe for us.
There are so many things I do not understanding esp. what happened to your son- such senseless and despicable violence. I don’t understand why my sweet friend Grace is still working so hard to recover all she lost after brain surgery almost 2 1/2 years ago. Everyday I pick up a newspaper, I do not understand why so much evil exists, so much disease, and so much sadness.
But then I turn my gaze to goodness- to God.
And I trust that in the end, goodness will win. Goodness alone will prevail. God will restore all that was lost.
I don’t know much…but I do know this much… I do believe in God, I do believe in you, I very much believe in Ryan, and I absolutely believe in miracles. You and Ryan are deeply loved…. Amen!
The Colangelis says
I do believe in God and I do believe in miracles. Based on faith, I believe in the power of prayer and include Ryan and your family in my prayers.
In my life, I have come to know God does exist. My realization comes from a lifetime of experiences that I base it on. I cannot base it on any one thing; rather it is a culmination of many, some small experiences, some large. I trust in God as I often say, in difficult times, God helps you make the right decision. That’s been the case for me.
I think the best example of why I know there is a God is based on our existence and that of the universe, both the complexity and the beauty. The sunrises and sunsets you mentioned a couple days back are things of beauty — I appreciate these as God’s work.
This blog is something I appreciate too. Tonight, it prompted me look for information that I found very interesting. I’m sharing it as some may find it interesting too. God bless you.
Very interesting website. Thank you. The following is from the website:
“We know God exists, because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.” Marilyn Adamson.
C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.” Lewis went on to write a book titled, “Surprised by Joy” as a result of knowing God.
I hope something happens really soon to change your mind. I’m almost afraid not to believe in miracles because if I don’t, they may never happen.
Far be it for to preach to you, Ken, but the miracle is the love. God is love. And you know where the love is.
YOU are the miracle. Believe in yourself and it will be okay.
Ken, your next to last paragraph sounds like words spewn from the mouths of members of the Westbury Baptist Church! Have we been invaded? !! It is shocking to me that any true Christian, or one of any other faith, would make such comments. We all have struggles with our faith from time to time. God loves us, and I don’t believe that he causes bad things to happen to us to teach us lessons or to bring us to our knees. I do think, however, that good can come from these devastating events, and this is what is happening here with the outpouring of love on Ryan and family, and the prayers from all over the world.
I don’t have to tell you, bad things happen to good people of God as well as some who are not so good. We see it all the time. Evil and sickness exist, and there is no denying this. God is love, and this is what Christianity is all about. “Love one another” was Jesus’ commandment that He gave to us. I think you have faith all right, and I won’t quote the verse about the “mustard seed,” because I am sure you already know it–probably memorized like the rest of us (catachism was tough!). Just think how tiny a mustard seed is–enough said.
I believe in miracles. Most of us can think of one or two. I believe Ryan’s recovery is a miracle and I am a witness to many others. I am so thankful that we are not in control–God is. I pray that you will keep growing spiritually and learn everything you can about God on your path. I love this Stephen Covey quote: We are spiritual beings on a human journey, not human beings on a spiritual journey. Love and prayers always.
Natalie L says
In no way shape or form is any of this your fault. If you had demons on your shoulders, its Jon and Austin. They ruined your life. You are who you are and believe what you believe. No one can influence you but you. Having faith doesn’t mean you necessarily have faith in god, you have faith in yourself. I do not believe in miracles, but, I feel that what you are doing is a miracle in itself. How many people would have crumbled already? Honestly, I don’t think i deal with what you have to endure on a daily basis. Your an amazing person and I wish nothing but the best for you and your family. This might cause a big huff but you don’t need god if you have love in my opinion and that’s just my opinion.
Kathryn Beggs Howlett says
I am a minister’s daughter….and I have no idea about “faith”. I like some others, believe in something bigger than me. I, like some others, believe “it” is about being a good person. I believe it is about putting others before oneself. About being kind and compassionate. And I believe in miracles. But I also believe sometimes we don’t see all the miracles that happen every day. And I believe there will never be a “good” answer to why bad things happen to good people. I do believe in you and your love for your family, and I “pray” every day for you and Ryan and Sue and Kari, because I don’t know what else to do…how else to make this better for you or to give you answers. So, I send love out on the waves of the universe and ask whomever/whatever it is that is “bigger” than me to bless you, some way, some small way, every day. This stranger is always here to read your words, to try to just say for whatever it is worth, I care, and I am sorry…..please give your son a hug and tell him I care very, very much about him.
I can’t imagine how much more painful life would be if I didn’t believe, because knowing that nothing is impossible for God gives me hope when all seems hopeless. I’ll just tell you what I’ve told my daughter when she walked away from her faith: “You may not be sure about God right now, but He still believes in you.” And here’s a little miracle to share with you… Just a little while ago I texted to her, “Mrs. Diviney wanted me to send you her love.” Her response: “Tell her I say God bless.” Lost faith can be restored, and we understand that God has His work cut out in proving Himself to you. I believe He will. In the meantime, we are here for you too <3
I won’t go into what I believe or don’t believe, because some would find that controversial and it’s not the place. But from the outside looking in on this, I did think there were a couple of miracles along the way. The first was that there just happened to be a surveillance camera that proved what actually happened. How many places in that area have cameras? Why did it all take place in front of one instead of on a back road somewhere? The second thing that comes to mind is the fact that Ryan was given little chance of surviving, yet he did. There are many other people who did not survive lesser things, even though the same heroic measures were attempted on them. Ryan did, and his health is slowly but surely improving daily. The third thing is all of the people who now rally around Ryan and your family. Many are total strangers, yet they have stayed by your side throughout.
Are miracles based on religion? Who knows? I think it all depends on what beliefs with which you were raised. Both good and bad things happen to people who aren’t religious too. You can throw guilt trips at yourself and others forever and will still never know the answer to why this happened to Ryan and your family. Ken, whether you’ve given up on faith or not, never give up on that big miracle you’re hoping for.
I agree Scott. Another miracle is your financial situation makes it an option for you to stay home with your child. How many dads would be able to do that??? A blessing indeed!
Sorry, interrupted.. did not get to finish post. Yes, blessings and miracles…..but I would be mad at the world if I were in your shoes.
Carla Liberty says
I’m not going to go biblical on you right now. Just one quote.
Hope… is the companion of power, and the mother of success; for who so hopes has within him the gift of miracles. ~~Samuel Smiles
Your license plates have the word “hope” in them. I believe in hope. I believe in miracles. I believe in you. And I believe in Ryan.
And wise King Solomon said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” We understand and feel your heartsickness, Ken, but pray constantly for your tree of life <3
While I do believe in a higher power, I’m not sure I believe in the God of Christianity, the God of most people’s faith. I believe there is something out there bigger than all of us; and that entity is there for us, guiding us, loving us… I also believe in Karma and in goodness and evil, and in love and hate. I believe we all learn from our existence in some form or fashion and that there is a reason for us all. What that is, I have no idea. Who am I to question your belief? I am here to support you in your love for Ryan. That I can do, in my own small way.
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Whatever your feelings,you have a right to them all..You are doing the Best anyone could ever do for Ryan .You are a good, kind, loving Father and person and that’s all that matters right now..Something is pushing you on and giving you the strength you need to help Ryan get better ….yes, your great love for Ryan ……and knowing how much we all care and are with you ,but I feel a little something or someone else too..Don’t be annoyed with me please I believe totally in miracles and Ryan is one of them. Keep up the amazing work with Ryan and we will all be talking to him soon. Always here Love Gail
Hi Ken, let’s think about this — you have done more for your son and family than a great many people. This is the true representation of love = your actions. This makes you a man after God’s own heart, whether you know it/accept it or not.
I believe that what we cannot see, or know, or understand — the Lord does. This can make one feel helpless or it can be very liberating. If there was only one straight road to heaven, no one would ever make it there.
Sometimes the greatest miracle on this earth we can know is love. You are very loved, Ryan is very loved, Sue is very loved and Kari is very loved. How many in the world have this? A lot of people don’t.
I respect you and totally recognize the suffering you have endured. You are a strong, dedicated, courageous man. God made you like this to help your son. Ken, it would take at least ten people to do what you do every day and this is not b.s.
You might feel confused, but you’re not lacking in intellect and the drive to know more. You might feel down, but so many are looking up to you. You might wonder if the Lord exists — just keep your heart open as you have been; don’t give up! Here’s my only scripture…”love covers a multitude of sins.” Thank the Lord for that, or I’d be in a heck of a lot of trouble.
Sending love, hope and prayers. And yes, I 110% believe in miracles…still
Natalie Polzin says
We all need to learn to listen and love…period. Myself included of course. My heart hurts with your heart, my mind questions with your mind.
I struggle with the faith thing right now as well. Sometimes I think no way, why would god allow these things to happen? And sometimes I feel that we will find out why “in the end”. The problem being…I don’t want to wait till the end to find out, and I want things to change back to the way it was RIGHT NOW. I read something awhile back about faith being the” way” in which we handle a situation, and I would say you have incredible faith. it’s the driving force that keeps us going and doing the right things for our kids everyday, no matter what.
Keep up the Faith.