There are people in the world who have the metaphorical Black Raincloud over their head all day long. These are the types of people for whom disaster strikes day after day, where bad things go wrong ALL the time. My former roomie Roomie Jekyll was such a person. Her laptop would break, the airline would lose her luggage, someone would hit her car and drive off. There would be bright sides in the form of insurance, luggage tags that eventually tracked down her luggage, etc. But it didn’t ever dispel the black rain cloud. If there was ever anyone I wanted to surround with a white sage cloud in the hopes of dispelling whatever bad mojo there was surrounding her, it was Roomie Jekyll. I never did, probably because she would spit venom at me. And then her clothes would accidentally catch on fire.
I like to think that I am not that type of black rain cloud person, and I work mighty hard at being uber productive to prove that I’m not. I am a fixer, I am resourceful, I can make anything work, I do not need to ask for help, I will solve these problems on my own.
I hate asking for help. If I ask for help, than I’m no better than my former Crazy Boss, the one who fired me because I couldn’t read her mind. She was another Black Raincloud Person, unable to figure out the simplest things, like how to turn on her daughter’s Ipod, and thus made me do everything for her. It’s not that hard to figure out how to turn on an Ipod, people, really it’s not. If you’re smart, you can figure it out. If you’re resourceful, you can solve problems all by yourself.
See my roses? Look at how great they’re doing. Pepe and Pembleton decided to repot them while I was dogsitting for Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy last week. Super sweet of them, sure, even though they confessed that they “couldn’t deal with the tacky Target pots” the roses used to be in. So they really repotted the roses because the Target pots were aesthetically offensive to them. BWAH!
My roses, after the struggle to move them, are doing great. And for me personally, things were so blissfully stable for like, at least a month and a half, the Running Of The Dalmatians not withstanding. I could incorporate that into my routine, because I am a fixer. I am resourceful. I can make anything work, I do not need to ask for help.
But then. A cop pulled me over for running a stop sign, when there was NO ONE around for miles, and I ran it at a whole whopping five miles an hour.
And then. I lost my cell phone. At a Halloween party where there was much merriment, and apparently too much fun.
And finally. My car died. After an oil change from EZ Lube. Suspicious? I think so.
I fixed the ticket by myself, since I hadn’t gotten a ticket in ten years, a trip to online traffic school took care of it.
I fixed the cell phone by myself, a trip to the local AT&T store and a cheapo $30 “gophone” took care of it (still the same number, Mom, don’t worry.)
Ah, but the car. The car. The car, is not something I can fix by myself. Because I am a chick. And Ethel is Ethel.
It took an entire village of people to help me with Ethel (and to everyone’s credit, everyone called her by her name. Nobody ever said, “Um, Amy, isn’t it a little weird to name your car Ethel?” Everyone just accepted the fact that Amy’s car is named Ethel, and that’s what we call her.)
Over a period of 48 hours, no less than 10 of my friends stepped up to help revive poor Ethel. Whether it was coming down to give her a jump, or loaning me a car, or driving me to the loaner car, or being on standby, or sending email prayers and assorted well wishes, everyone all lent a hand.
It turns out all that was wrong with Ethel was that her battery, recently taken out for inspection by the EZ Lube folk, was not put back correctly. That’s it. Tons of drama, two jumps, two tows, a million diagnoses of “it’s the alternator” and it all comes down to a STUPID EZ LUBE TECHNICIAN. DO NOT GO TO THE EZ LUBE IN BURBANK! THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING!
Throughout the madness, which reached a head on Sunday evening, as I was waiting for a pal to come pick me up at the EZ Lube to drive me to the loaner car, I noticed this store, situated right next to the EZ Lube. You can’t see it, but there’s also a giant Jesus on the cross next to the store, which is mildly disturbing.
And I’m staring at the sign, and I know I’m supposed to be thankful, and I know that I’m supposed to be feeling a warm wave of relief, that HERE God is in this situation, he’s a big green neon sign! Whooo hoooooo!
And all I’m feeling is numbness. Yay. God’s a green neon sign. That’s nice.
See, if I was younger, I’d be SO pissed off. Not just because of the car, but because God is SO not here in this situation, and that green neon sign is just mocking me! You want me to trust You? How bout cutting me a break and get my car working again! Raaaaaahhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrr!
But I’m not that way. Because I know now that God doesn’t work like that. God does not come down with the God wand and tap Ethel and shock her back to life. God works in the form of my ten friends helping me.
So much of the time, myself and the rest of the world say they want God’s help in a situation, when really what they want is for the situation to not exist anymore. And God doesn’t work like that.
I know that. So I’m staring at this green neon sign and I’m not feeling relief., because the car’s still dead. I do still feel the lack of God’s presence, despite the green neon sign, but that’s just a given these days.
And as I continue to stare at the God store, aching for some kind of connection, some kind of thought, some kind of spark, any kind of thought, or reassuring groundedness, the only thing that comes to mind is:
You’re trying too hard.
Heh. I’m TRYING too hard. Constantly examining every situation, wondering where God is, why He’s allowing things to go this way, where are we going, where does He want me to go. I should just stop that.
Not that I’m walking away from God, but I need to stop wondering where He is. He’s there in the sign, see?
Ethel is back up and running, thanks to Wella, and a million other people. Because I asked for help from people. People respond. People respond, and God observes.
And I’m trying to stop wondering.
Except now, I wonder what’ll happen when I stop wondering. Paradox! Paradox! ACK!