Wednesday, May 23, 2007

God Was Here

Okay, okay, okay, I’m sorry, I know I’m really late. I do, however, have a pretty good reason. But first, there is a preface.

One of the reasons that I’m as much of a cranky Christian as I am is because I get really annoyed when I hear blissed out people talking about how God is working and moving so prominently and obviously in their lives. You know the type I’m talking about. The ones that are SO blissed out, wide eyed, moony beamy faces, you’re waiting for someone to slap a cup of Kool-Aid in their hand and they’ll gulp it down and blissfully stretch themselves out on the altar and go off to meet their maker and the quicky made-for-TV-movie about their cult lands on CBS staring Dean Cain, Lea Thompson, or Markie Post in three months.

But just as obviously, a large part of my annoyance is centered in envy. Why is God working so prominently in THEIR lives? Has He forgotten about me? No. So where is He? Is it one of those things where I have to stop being cranky and THEN He’ll show up? Because it’s chicken and the egg, stop being cranky, God will show. But when God doesn’t show, I get cranky. God very well knows my crankiness, and if He’s truly sovereign, he wouldn’t need me to be all beamy before He shows up. And yet, I listen to these monologues about how God really did provide for me to get pregnant, for me to get a better job, for me to get a cash money offer on my house, and I simply want to puke.

Frankly with this kind of attitude, I can’t believe God bothers with me in the first place.

See, now I gotta backtrack. It’s not like He’s never around. He is, of course, of course. But the way He usually works is that things’ll get really rough, I’ll scream up some desperate prayers, and about two weeks later, things’ll start happening. That’s what happened with the finances, and the job situation recently. That two week interim truly blows, where I’m trying so hard to be patient, to be faithful, to believe that He’s tinkering around with the details and will pull off the drop cover in just another 10 days or so, unveiling some solution that once again gets my head above water (there’s a whole other blog entry to be done about how I’m wishing I could get more than my head above water. God is there to help me sustain, but damn it all if I wish I could do BETTER than sustain. If I could THRIVE, that’d be awesome.)

But it usually takes two weeks or so for the Holy Drop Cloth to be unveiled.

So here we are last Saturday night. It was a day chock full of events, of me running around from one meeting to another, from this group to that group, helping out here, taking notes there, blah blah blah. The end of the evening is me attending Curly Sue’s birthday party, and for a split second, I was almost not going to go, because running all over Los Angeles all day long had left me pretty wiped, and I wanted to take a dip in the hottub in Basil and Ginger Puppy’s backyard. But people were pleading with me to go, because my crankiness is sooooooooo sparkling and crowd pleasing, so I jump back in the car and head out to the bar.

And the car decides to die.

Ethel the car is getting on in years, and she doesn’t get a bath as much as she should, and there was the time two months ago that someone tried to steal her and she wouldn’t give them the time of day, so they stole my eyeglasses as punishment (which costs me $300 to get a new pair, thanks.) But she hadn’t been doing anything weird to the point where I was thinking, uh-oh. Ethel’s heading for a breakdown.

And yet here we are, on the side of Fountain Avenue, between Gardner and Curson, and Ethel has given up the ghost.

I don’t throw a fit. This isn’t as surprising as I’d like it to be. Maybe it’s the result of getting older, but letting go of useless anger is simple, (and it’s being replaced by useless melancholy, ha ha ha.) Getting angry isn’t going to kick Ethel in gear. It’s time to get logical and rational, and to form a plan about who do I call, who do I call who’s nearby, who do I call who’s nearby and sober.

And, true to form, the people who I do call who are nearby send a complete stranger who’s sober, because they are not. The complete stranger is pleasant and helpful and waits with me for the tow truck, and I’m touched.

But it’s just one of a series of events that secular people would call Serendipity.

1. At one of the Saturday events (before Ethel kicked off), I spoke with a friend, Stella, and good naturedly laid a guilt trip on her to meet me at church the next day, because nothing gets people to church like GUILT.

2. After towing Ethel back to my house, I jump in Roomie Jekyll’s car, who just happens to be out of town, so I can get back to Basil and Ginger Puppy in Los Feliz for the night.

3. On Sunday morning, realizing that I have to get Roomie Jekyll’s car back to the house before Roomie Jekyll comes home from Canada at noon, I email Stella and say I’m not gonna make it to church because Ethel croaked and I gotta figure out how I’m gonna rent a car and get Ethel to a mechanic on a Sunday when no mechanics work.

4. As I quickly try to do as many errands as possible before giving back Roomie Jekyll’s car, Stella calls on my cell, saying it’s my lucky day, her husband Wella used to be a car mechanic, and better yet, his brother owns the same type of car I do, so Wella will be stopping by this afternoon to check Ethel out and see what he can see.

5. Wella does indeed stop by that afternoon and Ethel has never had so much male attention in her life. If she were alive, she’d be beaming like the aforementioned cult member.

6. Wella ends up taking engine parts home with him to do some testing and says he can get back to me on Friday. As I steel myself for a week worth of walking, my friend Mella emails me and says I can borrow his car, he’ll use his roommate’s car, who’s out of town. “You’d let me do that?” “Honey, I’d give you a kidney. What’s a car in the cosmic scheme of things?”

So here I am. Ethel is still dead in the driveway, and I’m tooling around in a Big Gay Jeep. Seriously. Check back for a picture.

So some people would say it’s Serendipity. But I know it’s God. I’m humbled. I’m red faced with embarrassment and gratitude.

I’m stunned. Not just at how quickly my friends stepped up to help me (do you know it’s easier to get someone to lend you their car in Los Angeles than it is to get someone to read your script?) But how quickly God stepped up to help. No two-week delay here. No shouted up prayers of desperation, when it would’ve been warranted on Fountain Avenue on a Saturday night. You know how every other blog entry on here is me bouncing around on my head going “Where’s God? Where’s God? WHERE’S GOD!?”

Here was God. God was here. God was here for the Cranky Christian, and I'm still tearing up just thinking about it.

Here was God. God was here. Amen.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Dude, that totally rocks! Like you, I am spiteful and resentful of the apple-faced Christians who shit sunshine because God blesses them by leading them to the cubbard where the previous owner of their house stashed $4,000,000 for the next owner to find.

But when God shows up in your life like he did with this whole car thing it really brings his love for you home.

And, though I hate to give you perspective, perhaps your "barely keeping your head above water" is downright "flourishing" compared to some people.

Yeah, I hate that I wrote that too. :)