Okay, I am back from my whirlwind trip with some really exciting news... I am almost 100% sure I am not going to burn in Hell for all of eternity! This is actually quite huge for me, as the uncertainty of my soul's future has been weighing on my mind since I was a child. Let's see what else I learned:
I am now convinced that God has very little to do with the distribution of people's problems. Not that He couldn't be, if he so chose (so don't panic, I am not underestimating His omnipotence), but the whole "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" is a fallacy. An old wives' tale, if you will. Bunk. Bullshit. Soooooo not true. So, if there are any of you out there riding the wave of false hope that it can't get any worse because God won't let it... I am here to tell you to get over it.
It can get worse. It can get a lot worse. People whose lives seemed idyllic can break under the weight of a lifetime of secrets. I happen to be related to someone who can no longer handle the enormity of his pain. In reality, he hasn't been able to handle it for quite some time. And it is so very clear to me that it will probably get worse before it can get even remotely better.
But I don't say that out of bitterness or anger or hopelessness, or even lack of faith. Ironically, after my weekend cruise down the River Styx, my faith remains unshakeable and stronger than ever. But I am no longer certain that "it will all be okay." And I am not so sure all of my ever-increasing, big girl problems are all "for a reason." Which is not to say that I don't think God is with me every step of the way.
In fact, I do know with all my heart that God is here for each of us. Whether we attend church 3 times a week or not at all. Whether we have a prayer chain that extends around the world, or if we are just one weak, tired, confused and hurt voice whispering in His ear.