Every time I change the sheets in H’s crib, I find an impressive display of long-launched binkies below the mattress.We keep a rotation of 3 different binks in special hiding places so that in the middle of the night, if one goes astray, we have a go-to backup. After we’re down to zero, the cleanup must resume and the clock restarts. This morning as I was re-sheeting I wondered if H actually attempts to challenge my bink-radar by stuffing them away as a trinket prize. The kid loves to give a round of applause for a job well done.
I’ve been feeling a bit as if H and God have been ganging up in this regard. Not so much in the details of where to hide a binky, but as if it can be a game… “what will she do now? How will she react?” I can’t speak for the developmental stages of deities, but I’m positive all toddlers eventually give it a go.
In this, I’ve been attempting to practice my patience-exemplifying skills, but I’ve come to the realization that I’m much too selfish for that. However, this morning at Journey we asked the question that God could be asking us… “what do you want?” (or, “what are you looking for?” depending on translation). The discussion walked the path of knowing that Jesus didn’t necessarily come to solve the problems of the general population in the ways they looked for it: overthrowing the Roman government, restoring the nation as it was in the “good ol’ days”, etc etc.
Honestly, I had a tough time even getting to the question. I realized that in our consumerist society, we’re constantly being asked that question and then sold a product that will supposedly quench the thirst. Hungry much? Eat a snickers. Want to look nicer? Buy these clothes. Sex appeal? Try this cologne/cigarette/beer/car. We’re bombarded with solutions to our problems.
On this eve of husband quite likely loosing his job I realize that I don’t want a solution. I don’t want someone to sell me a problem-solver. Because come again next month, or year, he’ll be looking for employment again. I’m simply not interested in a god that only deals in immediate gratification, the way that he has be sold in the past.
I can legitimize all the offered consolation prize remarks: at least we both have our PT role where I work (and can make far more money); he can sub; at least we’re not pregnant; it was an awful situation to begin with, so this is kind of like freedom… but if I’m honest, there’s a part of me (probably located in my thighs, where all bitterness resides) that thinks, “yeah, but these things are typically spoken by people who have had health insurance for longer than 3 months at a time.” People who know the amount in their paychecks from week to week.
I don’t need a solution-god to find immediate employment and I don’t want cliche remembrances of how good we really do have it, even if we are fortunate in our misfortune. What I need is the woman who hugs me as I cry in church. The friends who show frustration on our behalf. I want to be disappointed without fear of coloring God unfaithful. I want to feel validated that no matter how great the opportunity that could lie ahead, it sucks monkey balls to be cast out of your current situation. Even when the students are a nightmare and the admin is a trainwreck, something still hurts deep inside to see a good man work extremely hard to do a thankless job and still not catch a break.
If I were following Jesus down that dusty path and he turned and asked, “what do you want?” I’m not sure I’d have an answer. I don’t want my husband to keep his job. I don’t even want or expect perfection for this life. I guess what I want is a bit of patience. Love. Nothing trite, but rather freedom to simply be and feel.