“I don’t think there’s a ledger of good and evil, this much good offsets that much evil. It’s just, oh, you know, there was that popular book a few years back, when bad things happen to good people, or whatever it was? That’s pie-in-the-sky stuff, to keep all us working stiffs from rising up in fury at the inequities in the world. No one ever writes about all the good things that happen to bad people, how the rich and powerful walk away from the messes they make, and people like me, like my neighbor, like my parents, pay for the clean-up.“
–Blacklist (V.I. Warshawski Novels) by Sara Paretsky
The book referenced in the above quote is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. It’s an excellent and book and I highly recommend it – as long as the original intention is clearly understood.
When I read the book I was going through some particularly difficult times and my response echoed the above quote almost perfectly. I was having an internal grumble session over the things the popular press feeds the masses and why people devour them so readily when I happened to stumble across the introduction.
According to the introduction, Rabbi Kushner wrote the book with the intention of providing advice to other clergy who were struggling to help members of their faith get through tough times. Therefore, the intended audience is professional religious assisting others with difficult aspects of life’s journey. After making that connection, the book, as a whole, was far more appealing and much easier to digest.
Personally, I still struggle with the why do good things happen to bad people part of the equation (which is nicely expressed in the above quote), but this particular popular press text no longer feels like one of the many hands of oppression…uh…please excuse the borderline radical fire-starter language – it’s just a rather apt description of a feeling.
(C) Adora Myers 2014