Monday, February 18, 2019

God Never Said It Would Be Easy

I'm up very early.  Brooding over God, and all the collective hurts of my marriage and his death and now the last two weeks.  It's built up big time.  People saying awful shit.  The ex-girlfriends popping out of the wainscoting to offer to send me baby photos his mother gave them, and to tread heavily on my grief.  Throwaway comments meant to help but actually are little knife jabs and twists that keep me in a state of bristling self-protection.

During the worst times of my marriage (and people have said to me, "all marriages have their rough spots," a platitude that reeks of 1950s received wisdom), I remember this out of body thing that used to happen to me.  I could see my hurt face.  Not the rest of me, just my face.  I could see the preternaturally gigantic fairytale tears quivering and spilling over.  I could see the surprise in my eyes (how could this be happening?). But any anger was pushed deep down into a hidden trunk way back in a hidden room behind another hidden room in a hidden mansion on a hidden street in a hidden neighborhood where The Worst Things live.  It lives there still, but its wispy dark tendrils are beginning to sneak out.

I said to some cop friend of his, last week, "I was a good wife!" like I was arguing with doubters, which I was.  There are many doubters, including me.  "I liked to take care of him and cook nice things and even pair the socks and make sure there were always clean clothes and a cozy home and cozy love."  To which the cop replied, with a little bitterness, "other wives could take a lesson from you!"  I had many startled and conflicting replies, but for once in my overly-confessional big-mouthed life, I kept silent.

God never said it would be easy

I hear this in my head in a rumbling voice: "I NEVER SAID IT WOULD BE EASY," and it has been going round and round my brain in an unpleasant and uncomfortable spin cycle of suds and filth commingling, the psychodynamic washer of my injured soul.  God never said it would be easy! 

If we're in that kind of a casual, chatty convo with God, I'd say back, "Oh Great Lord of the Bait-&-Switch, are you retroactively applying plausible deniability to the shitstorm of my life?" And then I'd  imagine this chat further, with God saying, "I'm God, child! The Great Watch-maker! I never said anything one way or another! Where did I ever say that? Where do you think I told you it wouldn't be easy? The Bibles ? You are one of my faithful, and even you know those books were written by human beings.  Some very fine writing, yes.  The best of all human writing.  Some magnificent poetry, erotica, prayer, history, some gorgeously imagined psychotic ramblings of prophets.  But the actual Me-God? No.  I'm off the hook for ex-post-facto denials and helpful warnings and also for all misery, suffering, grief, concentration camps, child abuse, and even failed crops."

And I'd reply, "but God, I never blamed you for my suffering.  I blamed people and I blamed myself.  Now though, I'm suddenly wondering:  should I blame you? If you are saying 'I never said it would be easy,' then you're a dismissive jerk.  If you didn't say 'this shit is gonna be awful, don't say you weren't warned,' WHY NOT? Why didn't you warn me? WHY DIDN'T YOU WARN ME.  I went blindly hopefully toward life and love.  Like a fool."

I think God is mulling over His response.  I hope He gets back to me soon.  I'm waiting.

1 comment:

Karen ^..^ said...

There is a lot to unpack in this. Let me start by saying that it is the very kinds of people who offer these inane platitudes, that have 'assumed' that they know HIM, and arrogantly quote things that HE said or didn't say, who have written bibles and other Good Books. One could argue that it is lust of power to claim to know God's true intentions or thoughts. At the very least, it's monstrous arrogance. It's been going on for millennia. Since language was invented. No one knows. No one could ever could know, unless they died and came back, and got a sneak peek at the land beyond the veil.

I prefer to think that we are here to experience all of what the human experience has to offer. Love, joy, sadness, agony, comfort. And to offer as much comfort and love as we can to others. Do we fail in this? Yes, every day. Do we succeed in this? Yes, every day. We are human. Sometimes being human is too much to bear. So I try every day, to offer some abstract or concrete kindness whenever I can. Unconditionally. Because I believe THAT is God's work. Not sitting in an uncomfortable bench in some religious institution. Not sending money to a TV evangelist. Not making some grand gesture the world will see. My desire to help is huge, but it's the small things that count in the end, I feel. Society can convince you that God is blind to the small, seemingly insignificant things we do to help. Even watering a dry plant is an act of kindness and I'm sure God sees it all. Those who have the material advantages in life have such a wonderful opportunity to do good in the world, but they're not the only ones with opportunities.

That man who you spoke to, about being a good wife, took just such an opportunity. Clearly he had experienced some damage given his somewhat bitter answer, but he validated you at a time you were being assaulted by ignorant and cruel comments, ignorant and cruel actions, and he simply answered the only way he was able at that moment. And you showed him a kindness by not picking up on that, though your raw emotions could certainly have propelled you to.

It's all about the small, humble kindnesses we give out. God isn't keeping score. But He is watching. Watching without judgment. A truly loving God would not be capable of judgment. That is a human condition.

I'll end by saying that all of these great works of literature in HIS name have given Him a wonderful way out: Free will. Do we really have free will? Don't our experiences in life dictate our actions? I don't believe that our lives are completely pre-determined, but I don't believe in total free will, either.

I think it's good to maintain a relationship with God especially at a time like this. I've always envied those who purely love and enjoy their faith, as I've never enjoyed "religion." I've lost faith more times than I can count. Despite this, I've never felt that we are here by some weird, cosmic accident. There's got to be better than this, somewhere. Hang on to that, because some days that is the only comfort that exists. Your conversations with God are so great to read. I love them so much. They are every bit as valid as any great work the biggest religions can ever use. Because they are real.