Suffering for an Answer

Merdina, our cat, threw up again last night.

Happens on a regular basis. She’s slowly getting worse. Sounds like it, anyway. She’s dying. We all are to varying degrees.

A 97 year-old woman falls next to her bed and surprisingly survives a broken neck. Healthy all her life, now she’s miserable. The neck collar is very uncomfortable and her age makes surgery risky. She decides she doesn’t want to be here anymore. Can’t say I blame her. Macular degeneration had taken her sight years before and even with hearing aids she couldn’t hear well. Social interaction was difficult at best. She tells the doctor she wants to sleep and not wake up. Her wish was granted with a little extra morphine.

The day after a 63 year old man retires they find cancer in his liver. He endures 14 rounds of chemotherapy. 14 rounds of in-hospital treatments. His hands and face swell terribly. His skin changes color. His appetite is gone but he forces himself to eat full meals. Still, after a year and a half, the cancer wins.

“There is no right or wrong, only consequences,” wrote Dr. Robert Anthony is his 1985 book THINK.

Caught my eye, that phrase. Good or bad is a human idea, wrought with emotion and perspective. We want to believe that there are valid reasons - acceptable reasons - beyond what we sense for circumstances that make no sense to us. The answers are always there of course. Accepting them is the problem. I wonder if that’s why many of us turn to religion. Firmly place those responses and any answers found in them on the top shelf; out of our grasp.

But it isn’t an answer you seek. Why is a never ending question. Ask any parent with a three year old.

What if the essence of the thing - the point - is just asking the question?

The answer wouldn’t matter then, would it? Besides, with such questions what possible answers would satisfy?

A man walks into a McDonalds and kills several people before being gunned down by police.

A woman drowns her kids, leaving them strapped in their car seats as she pushes the car into a lake.

A man takes a young boy from a mall, kills him and dismembers the body leaving the head to be found.

A man kidnaps a neighbor’s daughter, rapes her and then buries her alive.

Horrible human behavior. All a did and a done. We ask why but the question lacks definition. We look for that one reason, that elusive balancing point where maybe, just maybe - we’d discover why the scales tipped in that direction. That reason lies as one among thousands; human will. We have choices in this life. Choices result in consequences. Good, bad or any other adjectives are relative and immaterial. The question is a riddle.

What if you could live in perfect harmony, getting along with your neighbor without any of those negative human traits? World peace. Could you be happy? What if it were possible only by taking away your ability to choose? Happiness by force. Would you be happy?

Been going on for awhile.  Soon I will take my cat to a vet so I can end her suffering. She’s had a good 16 years. I think we took pretty good care of her.

I wonder though.

Who is the one suffering?