Friday, March 27, 2009

I Think I've Figured It Out

No, not death ~ I haven't figured that one out.

But I think I've realized why I have had such a visceral reaction against The Shack, which many generous people in real life and online have recommended to me.

The Shack presents a generous God who cares for all of the people of the world, who lovingly acknowledges the depth both of social sin and individual sin, who exudes forgiveness in situations we would find challenging beyond the possible, and who gently reminds us that we are the creatures and not the Creator. So far, so good.

But in The Shack, as in real life, the child is GONE. She is not coming back. She will never live the life her parents dreamed of for her, she will never marry the young man they would have loved, she will never have the children who would have brought her such joy and made her parents delirious with ecstasy. Her mother will never touch her hair again; her father will never kick a soccer ball down the beach with her again. Her many good gifts will never again be shared with the world. The doctor, the architect, the teacher she might have been ~ she will never be. All of those things which made her uniquely the child she was and the adult she would have become, all of them are gone.

Just gone.

I know that my Musical Friend finds comfort in her vision of the life to come, a vision in which she and her husband will be reunited. She relies in part on the words of her sister, who lost a teenage son and says that when they are together again, none of this will matter.

I find that my own feelings are quite the opposite.

This is the life I want back for my child. This one.

The Shack just rubs my face in the thick, dark reality that it is not to be.

Cross-posted at Desert Year.


Jennifer said...

i couldn't agree more.

Presbyterian Gal said...

I know what you mean. Because of my cousin and other things. I am not persuaded that God is at all kind in the manner we as humans understand kind. He is good, sure. But not kind.

And I believe he plays favorites.

*waiting for lightening*

Kathryn said...


Anonymous said...

And that's one of the reasons why I just can't seem to make myself pick it up though I've been given 2 copies.

I'm leary of most Christian fiction at the best of times. With the exception of the Buechners et al of the world, they often seem to me to be contrived, forced.


Quotidian Grace said...

I can certainly understand your response. I think it is how I would respond, too.

However, my brother, whose 9 year old daughter died of cancer after a horrendous four year fight, found it very comforting and urged me to read it. I was very surprised by his reaction.

There's no way to predict how an individual will respond to this book.

Gannet Girl said...

I remember you saying that, QG, and I thought about your brother many times while I was reading the book.

You are right -- there's no way of predicting.

Diane said...

I have not read it yet; our book group has it on for next month. I will be holding in my heart the many things I have heard here...