Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dear God, please do things the way I want them to be done. Amen.

Kristi, you must've grown up in the 60's.  THIS, actually said to me yesterday in aqua aerobics class by a man that obviously has no clue.  Seems like the music I chose to remind my class of their glory days was a big ol' signal for him to start guessing my age.  No.  To start guessing that since HE is that old, I must be, too, since I played a song from that era.  Actually, Mister McNosy Pants, the song was an awesome disco and it was from 1978.  When I may or may not have even been born yet.  I'll never tell. 

Then the ladies around him in the pool started giving him the You have no idea what you've just done, do you, kind of talk.  Which he did not, apparently.  Because he came back for round 2 of Guess Your Instructor's Age.  He then placed me as a teenager in the 90's, his reasoning being that since HE was himself a teen in the 1960's and I don't quite look as old as him - YET - I must be a thousand years younger than he originally assumed.  Or he was just trying to get me to stop making them do a million jump squats in the pool to wash away his sins. 

I find that comments such as this one typically come from mean older ladies and/or confused older men.  I encounter my fair share of both.  Whatever.  But you can bet that right after class I headed straight to TJ MAXX to peruse the high quality, yet greatly discounted in price, anti-aging night creams.  Oh the troubles I have seen......

And before I forget to make this announcement.... to the nice lady at the Tom Thumb who helped me determine what on earth was hurting me in my brassiere region:  I thank you.  You are an angel.  Y'all, there was something in there that shouldn't have been.  I'm thinking a baby sized bee with an adult size stinger, but just a theory.  And don't even ask me how that would possibly occur.  But I tried and tried to reach it, to no end  - because it was way on the backside of the strap, not in the more intimate region or I would've been feeling around in there all by myself.... security cameras be damned.  I double pinky swear to practice my back reaching bra strap stretch from here on out, but for such a time and in such an emergency, I finally had to call for help.  Thank you to the lady in the dairy aisle who came to my aid and found that I indeed had a giant red mark of pain on my back, though no bug in sight.  What a weird trip just running in to buy milk and bread.  So ladies, in honor of bra discomfort everywhere, I declare this the summer of no bras while grocery shopping.  Or ever.  That's even better.  

Today I was going to tell you all about how Kids 1 and 2 missed the school bus and how Kid 2 blamed it on Kid 1 for being a slow poke and how he can't get ready on time.  And then I was going to tell you how Kid 2 then proceeded to get back at Kid 1 by walking the almost 4 miles to school.... while Kid 1 conveniently called his girlfriend.... who called her mom.... who then rolled up and gave Kid 1 a ride.  (That's so in case he ends up being her son in law one day, she can say she was fully invested in this relationship from the start.  Again, whatever.)

Then both Kids 1 and 2 ignored my texts pleading to know their safety status.  Teenagers are like strange aliens that crash landed on this earth and try to make everyone hate them so we will help them find their homeland and get them the heck out of here.

I was also going to tell you how Fireman Dave dropped me off in front of Old Navy to return a dress that I so wanted to fit me but it didn't.  And how when I stepped in front of the car he stepped on the gas and almost ran over me.  Was it intentional?  Involuntary?  Premeditated?  Maybe he was thinking about all the continuing education credits he needs to earn for work and how he could probably get in some good learning by saving his own wife in a pedestrian vs car accident.  Plus he would be saving on gas by letting me run my errand at the same time. Next time, though, I'll walk around the back of the car for sure. 

But I'm not going to tell you that story.  Instead I chose this: 

Friday night my friend and co worker lost her home in a fire.  Sunday an acquaintance of ours was found dead in his home.  Monday I was in talks with someone about all the relationships in our friend circles that have fallen apart recently;  marriages strained from the pressure of jobs and kids and everything else that pulls us away from that original hope we had when we said I do.

And on a friend scale of 1-10, 1 being, I barely know them - and 10 being I eat Christmas dinner at these people's houses, I would say that today I am about a 3 or 4.  I used to be way up higher on the scale.  Because these are the types of relationships that are strong when everyone's kids are friends and all involved in the same scout troops and sports teams, and our time was meshed together in an almost endless variety of ways.  Then the kids grow up and out and they grow their big kid interests and get their next stage friends, and we lose touch with the families that used to be so close.

But I still find myself invested in the goings on of all my people.  Because they're on the same road as I am.  Kids the same age, marriages about the same age.  Houses and jobs and interests all around the general area of interest - that being our kids and how to pay for them.  But it's a natural unraveling of relationships when based on those things.  That doesn't mean I care any less about the news of the weekend.  Maybe it makes me care even more, because I'm starting to see that the things that affect them can just as easily find me.

Y'all, I thought about it over and over again and I tried to figure out what I think about it all.  And I decided on this.  Because I know someone is going to ask me, or ask someone this.  Probably on Facebook and I'll cringe at the broad range of discussion that ensues.  

Where is God in the ugly particulars of life?  So for the record, let me address my thoughts on it.  

The short version .... He's right where we ask Him to be. 

The longer version .....  Somewhere, at some time, modern social media users, especially, started spreading the gospel of God's saving grace in the form of his protection and blessings if we just live right.  Or if we give enough.  Or believe enough.  Or pray enough.  Or whatever enough.    Somehow we got the get off easy idea that God's job is to protect us from the uglier parts of life.   

Y'all. No.  

Just no.  

The Bible is filled with stories of how Jesus calmed the raging storms and parted deep waters and even caught a few fish when even the professionals from Field and Stream couldn't.  But stories are only as good as their interpretation.  And sometimes we, especially me, can find ourselves in a desperate place called, Dear God, please do things the way I want them to be done, Amen.  

For the millionth time please let me remind you that I am not a Bible scholar.  Ask anyone that has ever seen me doze off in Sunday School.   Um, if you could even get me to go as an adult.....  But I know that stories in the Bible aren't there for us to see God's undeniable power and how he can use those powers of protection to keep us in his favor and shelter.  

Y'all, I wish that were the whole truth.  But that's a surface interpretation.  That's a feel good, all about me, ask and thou shall receive interpretation.  But really?  These stories are more about how storms have always been present, even when Jesus was actually somebody's neighbor.  And how storms will always be a part of life.  The Bible stories that we so like to call upon as promises of our favor in God's eyes?  They're really meant to show us more about God's undeniable power to lead us during times of trouble than his power to keep the trouble away.  

So where is God in the details of life?  He's in our response, in our reactions and in our reaching out to the ones who need to be comforted.  His love shows in that casserole that you cooked for someone, that gift card that you sent because you didn't know what else to do.  The hospital visit, the phone call, the quick text asking if there's anything they need.  Y'all, he's there every time you ask how you can step outside of yourself and give something to others.  

God is wherever we invite him in.  That's our choice.

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