Sunday, August 20, 2006

Do You Need Help?

The thing about being recently unemployed, as I told people this week, is that you acutely feel every MINUTE of every HOUR of every DAY because you don’t have the numbing effect of Day Job Busy Work cocooning you. Everywhere I turn, there’s another clock showing me exactly 12 seconds have passed since the last time I looked at a clock. I'm getting all upset if people aren't returning calls or emails, and then I realize um, you called/emailed them yesterday. Give them some room.

So maybe I was trying to get the clock to go faster, but this week was spent helping out a slew of other people. I took out the trash at 11:00 church. I helped nosleeptricia address thank you cards and clean off her patio. I supported the Ark Theatre Company’s fundraiser, and did a box office shift for them the following evening. I killed a cockroach for Roomie Jekyll while she hyperventilated in the corner, and the next day took care of her through a bout of food poisoning (which wasn’t related to the cockroach, I don’t think. Unless she ate the cockroach.) I helped a former co-worker move up from Long Beach. And now I am currently dogsitting nosleeptricia’s dog, Simon. Tomorrow I give blood to the Red Cross.

Do any of you people need anything? Because I’m here. I’ve got time. Just sayin’.

My motivation was pretty selfish. I wanted to get out of the house, to get my mind off stuff, and to procrastinate on writing (directly contrary to the Time Moving Slowly thing, I know.) I’m also a huge dog person, so whenever I can borrow someone else’s dog to get my unconditional love, I’m there. Just look at this guy. He’s the most mellow dog. He endured three minutes of picture taking until I could get just the right shot. (don’t ask about the Phantom of The Opera towel. That’s a long story.)

In the middle of the week, it occurred to me that I could be perceived as a living breathing example of God’s love displayed through my actions in helping other people. But since the beginning motivation was pure selfishness, I don’t know if it counts.

Quick sidebar. When I first started tithing, I didn’t do it because we’re called to do so, I did it because I was f’ing tired of sitting through one more sermon that made me feel guilty for NOT doing it. So I started, and I don’t even think twice about it anymore. I don’t miss a penny that I give away. There’s never been a doubt in my mind that it’s not the right thing to do. But I kinda grew into that right frame of mind.

I wonder about motivation. People this week were helped because of what I did for them. And I got stuff out of it too, as a few people listened to me bitch and moan about my life and offered a fresh perspective that consisted of a very loving “You’re an idiot.” But in God’s eyes, what did I do? Do I get points for inadvertently being an example of His love? Or do I not get points because I got something out of it too? If I decided, “Today I’m going to be a WONDERFUL example of His love, He’s gonna be so f’ing PROUD O’ ME!” Wouldn’t I just be an insufferable bee-yotch?

I know, I know, it’s not about getting points.

God uses broken, miserable, and grumpy people all the time for His purposes. I imagine that He’s muffling his laughter as he’s watching me weigh down the car with a gazillion boxes of someone else’s stuff in Long Beach, look at how she’s trying so hard not to write! It’s fabulous! But do you think that He’s also hoping one day, maybe, that my first impulse when I wake up each day is How Can I Serve Someone Else? ‘Cause it’s not that right now (it’s usually Why Didn’t I Have A Happy Dream As Opposed To An Anxiety Dream?)

I wonder how many people wake up and have that as their first thought in the first place. And whether or not they’re insufferable bee-yotches. Sunshiny morons.

I guess I’m wondering if I can still be Amy The Grump and Help People When I Can, and not have to be a Sunshiny Moron about it. I can’t tell you how petrified I am that God’s ultimate plan for me is not to be a paid screenwriter, but that He’s gonna turn me into a Sunshiny Moron, and I’ll think it’s okay. The thought haunts me all the time if only you gave up your Grump ways, life would get better! God’s just waiting for you to shove off your Eeyore coil so He can reward you with blessings untold!

I don’t think God works like that. But in current eras like this one, it’s pretty hard not to let it creep into your thoughts. You’d have such a better life if you were a Sunshiny Moron. I don’t see myself turning into one of those. The motivation, the inducement, it’s not there. Which makes me wonder if I’m the biggest impediment to myself, if that makes sense. Because if that’s true, then how do I change? How do I get away from myself? I’m always there. I don’t go away.

Time to go help some more people, I think. Grumpily, of course. Ha ha ha.


Midlife Virgin said...

I think God has enough Sunshiny Morons and sometimes grumpy gets the word out better, because you ask and you question. How 'about coffee with absolutely no agenda to help me whatsoever some time this week?

Allison said...

Ha! I'm replying to this blog right now so I don't have to read my chemistry book. And I reply in general in the selfish hopes of keeping up a friendship (and to get myspace comments!).

Hope God uses me in spite of me.

...You haven't posted since Sunday and you gave blood Monday. I smell foul play.

Gib said...

Ms. The Writer,

I believe you were raised Presbyterian, so here's a link on predestination from those folks ac PC USA:

Basically, the idea is that you don't need to work your ass off for God, and so your intentions about working your ass off are immaterial: God has either chosen you or not chosen you to receive God's grace.

If this sounds like a lazy person's justification for not working his own ass off or a worried person's justification for saying it's out of his own hands or a non-commital person's non-committing to working his ass off at all or working his ass of with good intentions, what it sounds like might just be pretty close to reality.