Monday, March 24, 2008
easter -- the morning after
i am like this fencepost, leaning to one side while everyone else seems to manage to stand straight up, undamaged by the weather, wind, elements. i'm tangled up, tied tightly, maybe trying to break free on good days but on other days just resigned to the fact that i may be tied up and leaning forever.
it's unfair. i know, i know--life is just unfair, you say. heck, i even tell my kids that when they start that diatribe. and it's exactly what my mom told me, too: "honey, life is just not fair sometimes." but, somehow, somewhere deep down inside, i really yearn for life to be fair, just, equitable. of course, usually when i think about "fairness" i'm thinking only of myself.
isn't that the way it is? i am such a self-centered creature by nature. i think it's unfair that my spouse is between jobs and sometimes we struggle to buy groceries, while other people seem to prosper and have all they need and THEN some. i think it's unfair that some women are just born to be skinny, despite having three babies, while i sit here 7 months after giving birth to my 3rd child and weighing 15 pounds (at LEAST) more than i want to, and wondering why the weight just isn't magically falling off me as i type. i think it's unfair that sometimes (okay ALL the time) my kids fight with each other, while other kids seem to have a very loving relationship.
see, all these things have to do with me. i could spend all day typing up a list to post here of all the injustices i face every day or have recently faced. but the truth is, my perspective is skewed. i grew up in an american protestant church (southern baptist, you may recall from my confession in a previous post) where i learned that my faith was all about ME. "come down the aisle and accept jesus into your heart." (whatever the heck THAT means, really!!) YOUR heart. and then he was supposed to somehow make my life better. not give me lots of stuff--i didn't grow up with that theology. but i WAS taught that when i need something, pray, because God wants to listen and give me the desires of my heart. no--not a new car...well maybe a new car if mine breaks and i need a way to get to work, but not a FANCY new car; you see the nuance?
so for the last 4 years, off and on, i would pray and ask God to provide certain things (you know, simple things, like money for rent and groceries), and instead (folks, this is my interpretation here, just so you know) of providing, a paycheck of mine would mysteriously be delayed, or my spouse's resume would be magically "misplaced" and not considered for a job he really wanted and really could have landed. i'm not kidding--this has happened OVER and OVER and OVER to us in the last 4 years. at some point, i realized, oh my gosh, God doesn't HAVE to provide a roof over my head; he doesn't do that for the people who are down at the homeless ministry trying to secure meals for their families (and no, not all of them are junkies--some of them have just fallen on bad luck and ended up there).
ok, so this is where my faith sort of started deconstructing--when i realized that God didn't have to do anything for me. i'm part of the bigger picture. it's not just all about me. the trouble is, i never started reconstructing my faith, so here i sit, and this is what i'm facing today:
my dearest friend in town has been struggling to conceive a child for the past 4 years (maybe 5). i've known her 3 of those years, but our friendship just developed into one of those really close bonds in the last year or so. as someone who has 3 kids (and who conceived the 3rd by total accident and wasn't very happy about it while she was struggling to get pregnant!), i don't ever feel very sure of what to say to her. i can't say to her, "i understand what you are going through," or "i can imagine how hard this must be." i want to say to her "i really hope this month is the month," but then i don't want to contribute to getting her hopes up and then nothing happens.
well, my friend and her husband are at the end of a certain part of this journey and are headed to the doctor today to hear their other options, having gone through some really painful (and very expensive) stuff to no avail. here's where my faith really wavers: why can i get pregnant just by practically looking at my spouse, while she tries and tries and--nothing? this is not fair. i used to repeat what i heard at church and say, "children are such a blessing," or "God is blessing us with this child." now, though, i have to be honest: i cringe when i hear other people say things like this to me, because i think, "it's not fair for me to have these blessings (which on bad days i honestly think i've been cursed with--any other moms with me on that one?!), while my friend desperately wants a child of her own and so why isn't God 'blessing' her with one too?"
of course, then you can take this idea even further (i have, trust me, and it just causes a serious emotional downward spiral) and say, "it isn't fair that some children are born in africa with no food on their lap to eat, no mother because she died of AIDS " or, "it's not fair that some people just down the street from me feel like they have no other option to make money to provide for their families besides working as prostitutes on the street at night," or, "it's not fair that some moms i know have to work 2 and 3 jobs while raising their children alone without a partner."
life is just not fair. and i'm not at the point where i have any answers at all to the question of why God won't just give my friend a child, why He won't provide a job for my spouse, why some people have to struggle much harder than others, sometimes their entire life without a break from it all.
i know people who seem to be able to be able to hold their faith in one hand and these questions in the other, and, somehow, they manage to keep their faith intact. today, the day after easter, i wrestle. i ponder. i struggle.
Posted by kristi at 9:26 AM