If you've been with my blog for some time, you know that I'm rather apathetic about this god person. I've been stepped on for a great many years and I think I can be forgiven for saying that I'm not sure he/she/it (?) pays any sort of attention to me. I can't worship any deity that seems to be apathetic to me; that seems to not know what I'm going through. I'm not into statue prayer, bead prayer or prayer of the desperate looking for anything. I just want to be acknowledged. There is an old question amongst ministry people when you say you're praying for something. "What if the answer is, 'No." Can you handle that?" Heck yeah. At least I'd know that I'd been heard.
In my theology, there is one God and all religions are manifestations of that one deity. It's like every religion is ice cream, but some are butter brickle or peanut butter or chocolate or chunky monkey. The similarities between religions are more prevalent than differences, although some religions more resemble chili dogs than ice cream. (They have extra onions, too, for extra heartburn.) So, if you have this prayer reality within your religion and you believe your deity hears you, then there is the possibility that she will not grant your request. (You cannot have a flame thrower to melt the snow in your front yard.) Perhaps your request would come with a caveat. (While you can't have a flame thrower, you can pay the tween kid down the block to break up the ice dam in the drive to let the melting snow run into the street. It's win-win for both of you.)
And then, there is the knowledge that [insert person or group of people] has life way worse than you will ever have it due to [insert life sucks moment or existence]. It's hard to be praying for a parking space to open up closer to the store so you don't have to walk as far when someone is praying not to die. It's about perspective.
Yet, when life hands you lemons, you can be forgive for saying, "I am sick of lemonade! I don't even like the stuff!" I find myself in this situation and I'm struggling with my perspective, even as the days have lengthened and the smell of spring is in the air.
I got a decent tax return this year. I spent 4 days, count 'em, DAYS, working the possibilities for what to do with this. Eventually, the numbers which won were to take down the dead tree at the NW corner of the house, get the cats their check up and shots, add to the rainy day fund and set aside seed money to replace the Jeep. There would be a bit for a treat for me and I would have money for the wedding trip.
Then the furnace died.
I awoke at 4:30 a.m. two weeks ago, thinking it seemed chilly in the house. Checking the thermometer, it was 58 degrees. Now, I turn down the temp at night, but not that low. I called the company who last performed actual service as opposed to the company who merely cleaned the beast. The latter company didn't have a 24-hour hot line. When diagnosed, the heater coil had gone out. Replacing that took 75% of my tax refund. Oh well, at least I had the money to fix it. Once fixed, it occurred to me that this problem has been on-going for several years. I've had to crank up the heat on several occasions because it just didn't feel like the house was warming. The repair company felt that the cleaning company, who said "everything is good for this year", didn't do any diagnosis. When I tried to find them in the yellow pages, they had vanished. [Insert sarcasm] I wonder why.
Anyway, there goes getting bids on taking the tree down. I can't have companies come out knowing I can't accept a bid. I'll just have to hope there are no hugely powerful storms which would cause a branch to come down.
I headed off to get the oil changed in the Jeep. It was time for the 21-point inspection. My U-joints are shot and the radiator has a very slow leak. The U-joints were of immediate concern so they were replaced last week. The radiator has to wait. I always keep a bottle of oil and a bottle of anti-freeze in the Jeep at all times. You just never know. My mechanic topped off the anti-freeze and said, "See you next month." Would that this were true.
I've just come back from an inspection trip to Iowa. The expense check I'm destined to get for that trip would, in theory, pay for a radiator replacement. My extremely car-handy brother has offered, instead, to replace the radiator if I buy the parts and dinner. I just need to take a weekend and get the car out there. We priced radiators and the attendant hoses and the $40 in gas it would take to get out there (Thank you, God, for low gas prices.) and man, is that tempting. There was a "funky" noise when I started the car today, after driving from Iowa to the office. We'll see if it's still there tomorrow.
There is wash overflowing in the laundry chute. I toss a load in the machine and go upstairs. After the thing fills, there is a horrible screeching noise. I go downstairs and it does not seem that the tub is agitating. I open and close the top several times and it appears that this agitation process is on-off, on-off. It still spins, however and the clothes were okay to be hung up to dry. But have they been agitated to be washed? Maybe just sitting soaking is okay? Maybe what I think I'm supposed to see is not what happens when it's on permanent press? Maybe I can find a rock along a stream somewhere? Or maybe I could take all my dirty clothes to my daughter's and spend the day before the wedding doing laundry? Maybe it's really okay?
The cats have to be postponed, at least until April. They seem to be fine, if more than a bit too fat. If the washer spun the clothes out, maybe, if I do small loads, it won't matter as much. If my brother really feels he can replace the radiator, it will just cost me a visit home and I can nurse the thing until then. I'm still really worried about the tree and I need to find a mowing service because the guy who used to mow my lawn is moving. I had sort of planned for that, which is "me-speak" for "I know it's coming but maybe it won't so I don't have to add mowing into my thin budget".
And then, Anne Lamott, the Christian writer I love so well, writes an amazing column about the trials and tribulations of being human. I won't post a link to the Facebook post here for those of you who loathe Facebook. If you'd like to read it, just type Anne Lamott in the search function and look for last Sunday's column. In essence, she was talking about prayer, about life and how frustration at irritations leads us to being angry. She drives a 1959 Volkswagon which doesn't have a gas gauge. She keeps meticulous records on how much gas she puts in the tank versus how much she's driven. The VW died but she said it couldn't be because it was out of gas. The good Samaritan who stopped to help her thought otherwise, but humored her while they when to his garage, got his big gas can, filled it and then added that to a bone-dry gas tank. He refused money for helping her.
She had recently encountered the title of this post coming from a woman who had been dealt a "high card" hand when everyone else had full-houses. I've encountered this in my travels about the Chicagoland area, coming from people with sagging and fallen plaster, remnants of sewage in the basement and a construction project digging up the front yard. "God is good," I've heard.
Suffice it to say I don't get it, not wholly, not fully. Lamott didn't get it either, at the time, but, this is what I love about her willingness to talk about this faith journey she's on, she admits that this is a struggle, that she's always going to wrestle with the "not getting it" part. The "It's okay. God's got it" is never going to come easily or quickly to the point that she can just blithely go through life secure in "God is good". When you're like me and you're not even sure God is aware of you or you think he merely opens a window "Laugh-In"-style and says, "Yeah, she's still there," it's not okay and God is not good and it's not going to matter if my god is cookie dough or strawberry ice cream flavor.
So, I'm struggling right now. The load of wash I did tonight is drying on the line. (In case you're wondering, I've never owned a dryer. It takes planning to make sure you have adequate clothes for the days ahead while a load dries on the line, but I grew up in another era when wash on the line was how you dried things.) I have 2 cats thrilled to see me. I have leftover pizza in the fridge and I'm grateful that's still working. The sun is out and the snow and ice are leaving. I'll need to jump into my financials and see where I'm at. Is there any extra in the rainy day fund for a washer? I don't know. But, I do know I can go to a laundromat and do a couple loads which would tide me over for at least a week. There are options.
I don't know if it's okay. I don't know if God's got it, whatever "it" happens to be. I'm soldiering on the only way I know how. I was thankful for a beautiful drive, for a chance to connect with my mom and my brother. It's in the little things that I think this God is good. The big stuff will sort itself out.
Beverage: English Teatime Tea