Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You Keep Asking For It, But You're Never Getting It

So here’s Hazel the toddler. I guess we can’t really call her Baby Hazel. When they start walking, they’re not really babies anymore.

Hazel Toddler is now about a year and a half, that age where everything is super groovy cool, and if you fall down you don’t cry about it, because it wasn’t that far to fall anyway. But it’s about another six months before she formally enters the Terrible Twos, and then I shall be avoiding her house and backyard for awhile.

Things have settled down somewhat after a number of weeks, and I’m finally getting to breathe somewhat.

I guess I’ve progressed in my spiritual journey to the point where it’s not that I don’t think God’s listening, because I know He is. And it’s not that I don’t think He can’t handle my requests, because He’s God, and He’s the world’s original multi-tasker.

It’s just that I think He doesn’t want to. What’s the thing that the guy says in the Gospels? C’mon, I just finished those suckers two weeks ago. Ah hell, let me go look it up. ARGH! I know it’s in there somewhere. It’s a beggar, a leper, a cripple, or otherwise disenfranchised person…HA!

It’s the leper. Or, a leper. (I think there’s more than one hobbling around the Gospels) He’s in Matthew 8: 2 – 4; Mark 1: 40-44, and Luke 5,:12 – 13. NIV has him kneeling before Jesus and saying “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." But The Message translates it as “"Master, if you want to, you can heal my body." Jesus says “I am willing” (“I want to”) and heals him.

“If you want to.” Acknowledging that Jesus knows the situation and has the power to, and He has the power to, because He’s the son of God.

God knows my situation, the dark corners in my head, the aches in my soul, the frustrations in my life that are meaningless, sure, of course, but don’t go away. God can absolutely do something about it, if He wanted to.

He just doesn’t want to. That’s what it feels like. He doesn’t wanna help. I’m not looking to anyone else to help me, just Him. Might as well go to the Guy who knows how everything’s gonna turn out.

But He just doesn’t want to. And He won’t tell me why. And He’s not providing other options, other avenues, other roads to go down. So I feel like I’m stuck, and I can’t get out.

There’s another quote from C.S. Lewis’s Grief Observed that’s stuck with me. I recognize that quoting C.S. Lewis makes me sound like a smarty pants, but I’m not. Grief Observed is only, like, 80 pages long. Everyone can read it and remember some part of it.

And it’s the same section where I last quoted him, the special sort of “no answer.” Before that, he’s asking God if he can meet his dead wife again “only if I learn to love you so much that I don’t care whether I meet her or not? Consider, Lord, how it looks to us. What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, “No toffee now. But when you’ve grown up and don’t really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose.”

That’s what I feel like right now. That I’m supposed to ignore these ever present aches, love God with all my heart, and God will finally fill the ache when I don’t care about it anymore.

It’s an ACHE. It f’ing HURTS, okay? Not so easy to ignore. Not for years and years.

Whatever. God’s not gonna stop the ache, and He’s not gonna tell me why, and I’m supposed to grow up already and find joy in running missions in Africa, or helping nonprofits on Skid Row, or other noble efforts, and stop looking for My Future Husband Because You’re Not Getting One, So Knock It Off.

These past few weeks, in addition to wanting to pound a train spike through certain people’s heads, I feel like my life appears to be continually giving of myself, my time, my knowledge, my efforts, to help other people.

“I live to serve.” That’s what I used to snarkily say to my Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Still Love Very Very Much whenever she wanted me to do something. She had a knack for continually picking the wrong time to ask me to do things for her. I harbored theories that she couldn’t stand to see me watching T.V. when she was struggling to write her master’s thesis in City Planning, and so Amy, go clean the bathroom. It doesn’t help me write, but I’m so annoyed that I’m doing something and seeing you do nothing, that I demand you do something other than nothing RIGHT NOW.

So I live to serve. Rolling my eyes the entire way. Then and now.

Here’s the deal. I’m down with the whole loving your neighbor as yourself thing. I treat people exactly how I want to be treated.

The problem is that I want to be treated GREAT. So I treat others great, and I take their problems on as my own. You need temp agencies? You need a mechanic? You need a script read? You need someone to do last year's quarterly reports? You need a job? Okay! Let’s see what I can do, because I know I’d want other people to help me when I have problems.

So it leaves me exhausted and resentful, and the best part is, I DO have problems, but nobody else can solve them except for God. Awesome awesome irony.

Amy, you’re such an f’ing brat. Your car broke down last year, Wella fixed it. Mella lent you his car to drive. There. People help you. Stop being an ungrateful brat already and go clean the bathroom.

Right, right.

JOY! There’s JOY in them missions in Africa! JOY, I tell ya! More JOY than you can shake a stick at! Give up all your dreams and hop to it right NOW if you wanna jump on the JOY TRAIN!

Right, right.