I could make you a list of the reasons that, following 3 years in seminary and even a degree upon completion, I did not go into ministry in a lead position. We’d start with 1. I’m not a good listener, move through to “lacks necessary levels of compassion” and “simply doesn’t want to bear the weight of the responsibility that comes with preaching.” But this evening helped me realize yet another reason: I don’t have enough answers to hard situations, and I’m easily frustrated by that fact.
Some friends and family are really hurting tonight as one of their good friends will likely leave this earth in the next several hours – just hours after delivering new life. It’s all so overwhelming and unexpected and completely heartbreaking. And try as one might to find one, there isn’t a good “reason”. The typical Christian response generally follows the lines of “We don’t know God’s plans, we just have to trust that He is good.” And for someone who hasn’t experienced God’s goodness (or hasn’t comprehended that experience), I can understand why such an explanation falls short. Goodness, anyone who has watched the funeral scene of Steel Magnolias with Sally Field’s soliloquy knows this.
Death is all-around hard; it’s most difficult for those left close in the wake. So in some ways when we ask, “why her?” we’re also asking “why me?” as we bear the pain of grief. Our enlightened minds want to know cause and effect, so we can prevent future pain and ensure fairness in the distribution of hurt. But these situations don’t provide what we’re looking for. We have more questions than answers, more pain than joy, more anger than understanding. You’re right. It’s not fair.
Jesus had a friend that died. The story in the book of John can lead one to many different “applications” and understandings, but here’s what I cling to: Jesus wept. And not just because his friend “who he dearly loved” had died, but also because he stood there and saw Mary, another beloved friend and When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
Jesus knew the end of Lazarus’ story: he would rise again. All along Jesus had been explaining that Lazarus would be okay. But at the sight of a friend grieving, he broke down in tears. Perhaps part of it was seeing a grave marked “Lazarus”. Maybe a little of it involved his disappointment that his friends didn’t believe what he’d been saying. But the puddle around Mary’s toes surely made his heart heavy and his eyes brim. The human experience of losing someone you love – and watching those you love hurt – was too much. Not even reason and understanding (the answers!) could help Jesus put up a stoic front.
Perhaps a real pastor could provide a better answer. Maybe there really is a scripture out there that puts it simply and says “this is why. Now you have peace.” But I’ve only experienced this in the messy form, grief with tears and regret and pain and a Jesus that says, “I hate that this hurts so bad” and then stands there and cries with me. My hope is that in the coming days, that Jesus makes His presence known, that he weeps with us and for us.
That’s all I have.
“No, I’ll have it right here.” (+5 Bonus points if you can name that movie quote).
So, I realized today at work that I have quite a predicament of social etiquette. It involves my frequent potty breaks and a need for refills in my water glass.
I try to be a good, productive worker bee. I get as much done as humanly possible while in the office. But my body has certain requirements. Such as a need for high doses of fluids, specifically water. And then, once that water has done its thing, it must be disposed of properly. So between the refills and the refuse, I must leave my seat.
Now, don’t you worry your pretty little head. I’m ultra-efficient with my non-cube time. I take my empty glass for my trip to the WC. BUT, you know what that means. I take a cup in when I pee. Well, not into the stall. But into the room. I set it on the sinktop. But people see me go in and out of the potty with a plastic cup in my hand on a regular basis. Empty both times, mind you, but where else does such an event occur other than the doctor’s office? Perhaps I’m just overly accustomed to such activity because it crossed my mind today and it caused much distress. I didn’t know how to fix the problem. There’s no shelf outside the bathroom. Set it on the floor outside the bathroom? I’m very limited on my options.
I could always make separate trips, but I’m pretty sure the IT guys I pass down my row would start using it as fodder for a drinking game or some sort of revenue-accruing gambling event. That’s 4 trips down the row during one “break.”
Short of digging a tunnel to the potty and installing a Culligan dispenser in my cube, I fear that I might just have to be “that girl.” Well hydrated and with strong bladder muscles, sure. But still, that girl.
*Side note one: husband just informed me of his own cup considerations when he arrives at school. I concede that he wins the prize: he doesn’t trust others enough to set it by the sink and the mechanics involved with his pee pee break and my own add a degree of technical difficulty. Apparently there is a balancing act happening to put the coffee cup on the piping of a urinal.
*Side note two: Seriously, does anyone know the opening quote? Hint: it takes place on an airplane. My sister and I used to howl over this one. I’m giggling every time I think it.
Seriously, I know: if these are the things that take up space in my brain, I’m doing pretty well.
1. Oh, my lovely, sweet, sweet baby girl… why won’t you JUST GO TO SLEEP? Love, Mom. No less than 15 trips up the stairs to remove her from standing at the railing (I long ago gave up indicating that I might be impressed by this skill in hopes she’ll quit), I think I know why I’ve only gained 10 pounds so far this pregnancy.
2. The 10 pounds is a bit misleading. My belly button continues to reach skyward and my belt is just 2 notches away from the tub under the bed.
3. Oh, the sweet and spicy goodness that is pepperoni rolls. I secretly hope our friends don’t like them this weekend so I can eat more guilt free. I think I might buy a gallon or so of Padrone’s ranch for some recreational dipping.
4. Husband is currently driving the cheapest car ever. So cheap that there’s no center armrest and he was unable to tilt his seat back. The accord is finally getting a facelift bumper-fixing, but they ordered the wrong bumper so he’s in a rental. Slightly not convenient, but manageable.
5. I finally bought 2 boxes of fruit snacks, the unhealthy kind full of HFCS. And they satisfy. The gummi worms in my purse? Totally not mine.
6. Husband and I finally purchased a game we had our eye on – Dominion. It’s a strategy card game of fiefdoms and castles. Sort of. But it has definately passed the time the past few evenings with some enjoyment of the non-shiny screen variety.
7. Today is one of my few Y&R days so I get to catch up. Victor is turning into a bitter, bitter old man. Something’s going to happen. And Diane is soon going to be doing both Victor AND Nicolas. Phyllis will go off the deep end when all the men in her life keep “helping” Sharon (perhaps a real identity revealed?). And I’m going to agree with cousin RWB, I think Adam’s going to pull a Michael Baldwin and switch over to the good-guy team with a slightly slick nature. This is me, looking for the best in everyone.
8. Today was another visit to the midwife (note from a midwife-visiting professional: schedule your appointment as early as possible in the AM. They don’t have time to be running late yet). I didn’t see my usual gal, Bonnie, but Deb was ultra-helpful in guiding me to a blood-thinning decision. We’re going with the baby aspirin. I know, you’ve all been holding your breath in suspense.
9. We had a third successful pee-pee on the potty. Cheering and raisins richly abounded. I can only cross my fingers that we’re on a roll.
And, that’s about it. Lists are better in odd numbers, so I’m not going to hurt my brain too much on my day off.