Something has to give

My Jewish friends tell me that arguing with God is par for the course. That it should be done early and often. That such wrangling—a good scolding now and then—is good for the soul and for my spiritual relationship.

I was raised Roman Catholic. Not only did we not argue with God, we even capitalized the pronoun referring to our deity. There was no wrangling. He was supreme. We were docile, loved peons in the grand scheme of things. The scoldees, not the scolders.

The other night, I took a page out of my Jewish friends’ book. I told God, in no uncertain terms, that something had to give. I used those exact words. I felt I had too much on my plate—too much to handle—yet again. Life needed to get easier.

It did not. And something certainly did give. I believe it was me.

Just in case you were wondering, this is not what I had in mind when I delivered my little diatribe to the almighty.

I awoke the morning after scolding God to a morning of conference calls and a few errands. As I ran my first errand, my car was hit by an elderly woman. An elderly woman who could not properly see her traffic light was red because her eyes had been dilated by her ophthalmologist. That meant she could not also see that all cars at her traffic signal were stopped because of a red light. She sailed through and hit me soundly. I’ll spare you my diatribe on people who drive while unable to clearly see.

This incident was followed up that evening by my youngest saying he has not ruled out boarding school. As I smiled and said, “Great,” I was hoping he did not see the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. I am verklempt at having just four years left with him at home, let alone contemplating having less than one year. As an added bonus, I’ll spare you my diatribe on the cost of tuition.

And just today, I had the distinct pleasure of being on a conference call with a woman who insists on calling me “the writer” when referring to me—never addressing me directly by my name. While I certainly can’t compare conference call corporate politics to the Rwanda genocide or the Holocaust, I was tempted to remind her that dehumanizing people by not using their name is something most of us savvy journalists are familiar with already. And we avoid it. (It’s called being human.) Oops, I guess I can’t say I’ll spare you my diatribe on corporate politics.

The icing on the cake was meeting a good friend for dinner tonight and having just about the worst Vietnamese food I’ve ever had. And then wondering if that really was chicken they served me. My upset stomach begs to differ.

You get the idea, right? You don’t need me to go on. When I got “salty” with God, as my eldest calls it, I was clear. Something had to give. I meant the outer events in my life. But the icky ones kept on comin’. The ones that make me frustrated, or fearful, or angry–or sick to my stomach.

My first reaction to it all: “Very funny, God. Now stop that. Seriously.”

And then, it hit me. I was being shown what had to give. It was me. Specifically, it was my old programmed reactions to the outer events in my life.

The beauty of it is—I think I passed this test with flying colors.

I was sweet as pie to the woman who hit me. Even when she started to get salty with me after she saw the price for auto body work.

Rather than kvetching (Oy. All the Yiddish words. I really am channeling my Jewish friends in this post, aren’t I?), I am focusing on the bright side of boarding school for my son—the many opportunities it would open up for him and the new freedom it would give me.

As for corporate politics, I’ve been able to keep a lofty distance from them this week. It’s as if I’m able to observe from a mountaintop, without being in the middle of the fray. I can’t explain it, other than knowing it’s a good feeling. A better feeling.

There’s no easy fix for the meal, people. Believe me, for literary symmetry, I’ve tried to come up with enlightenment around my reaction to the meal. But I can’t. I’m drinking tea and hoping to feel better in the morning.

I’ve not become Pollyanna. I still see, very clearly, that being in an accident sucks. Having a dent in my car because someone else was careless is not fun. I see how much I’d miss my son and what we’d miss out on if he leaves for boarding school—everything from Sunday dinners to hearing about his day, at the kitchen island. And I still really cannot stand the egos that drive corporate politics. I find them silly and want to encourage them to find a new hobby.

But my reaction to these events is now a response. Read that again. I am responding, not reacting. I am not allowing any event to determine my mindset and thoughts—my degree of happiness or lack thereof. Events will continue—both good and bad. My mental and emotional well-being does not have to yo-yo with them. Easy to say, harder to do. But this week, at least, I’m doing it.

Therein lies the difference.

I scolded the Universe and promptly got schooled. It follows that I’m not sure I share my Jewish friends’ passion for arguing with the divine.

But in this case, I’ll take the end result.

 

 

 

 

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48 Comments Add yours

    1. candidkay says:

      Right back ‘atcha.

  1. nimslake says:

    Well…”scolding” not a word I’d use…lol!
    But an open discourse to vent and disagree, maybe the better way to describe how I “talk out loud” 😁.

    It helps to just let it out, that I agree with your friends on. It truly helps too on a psychological plane to hear yourself out…and be able to re-align your thinking and POV.

    Your doing great and I get the Catholic view of being told and not crowbarring the system. But I’m hearing a new tune and your going to go explore and be a but more “open” conversationally. 😀

    Listening in the ether,
    Nims

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for listening in the ether! I always appreciate your comments!

  2. George says:

    There are many quotes and passages people can apply to your recent difficulties but I think if I were you and I heard them I’d think about slapping someone. 😊
    You always seem to find a way to put things in perspective. Who knows. Maybe it was that catholic school upbringing. But speaking g from experience, I’d think not😊

    1. candidkay says:

      😋. Ah, yes. You mean when you pour your heart heart out on a page and then someone posts a reply like: “This too shall pass.” Or some other folksy wisdom That reduces a complex series of life events to-well, nothing. I always tell myself they mean well :-). As far as the Catholic school upbringing, I think I’m with you on that one. I’m not sure where the perspective that comes from, I’m just glad I have it. And followers like you to keep me sane :-). Thanks, George.

  3. G'amma-D says:

    Read your title and immediately thought of…John 3:16.
    Sometimes grace is hard for us to give. You handled things beautifully.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). Now I need a little grace, as the woman that hit me has changed her story with the insurance company and is lying. I think I’m just going to have to let this one go and walk away in grace. But a sad statement on society today.

  4. I scolded the universe and promptly got schooled! I like that!

    1. candidkay says:

      I like my phraseology . . . not so much the reality:). Lol.

  5. So you asked God to change things, but ended up changing yourself! A wise person once said the power of prayer is not that it changes God but that it changes the person doing the praying.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ooh, I like that! 👍🏻

  6. Kristine, I wish I’d read this post before I lost almost a day’s work on my WIP yesterday (for some reason auto-recover didn’t work or I accidentally deleted it or something!). Next time anything like that happens, I will think of you and respond, not react like a crazy woman.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, if only I could follow my own advice consistently:). I’ve been known to stomp and drop some F-bombs when alone in my family room:). I’m so sorry about your WIP! I hope you were able to recover or recreate!

      1. A setback but I’m good now. Thanks. 😊

  7. Cindy Frank says:

    You are controlling the narrative–that gives you strength now and going forward.

  8. Elaine says:

    God only gives you what you can handle. In this case—what a compliment! I know, I’m one of your Jewish friends.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh yes. God is showering me with compliments then!😋

  9. markbialczak says:

    You really are a good person, Kay. The only little wrinkle I’d throw in is that one recourse you still retain is to never, ever go to that Vietnamese restaurant again.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I won’t argue with you on that one, Mark! That restaurant—Despite its sweet owners—is right off my list🤢

  10. suemclaren24 says:

    Many of us have days like this, when it seems that the Universe (or God, if you prefer) is dumping on us. You have described a realistic reasoned approach that others may not achieve, but you have provided an example of slogging through to a satisfactory conclusion. I have found that It helps to verbalize the events through writing and/or talking. When you look at the list, it can be easier to distance yourself, to get away from reactive emotion, perhaps to find humor in the absurdity of it all. Breathe, deep satisfying breathing. And then there’s the glass of wine.

    1. candidkay says:

      A prescription that involves relaxation breathing and wine? Sold😋.

  11. Conna Bond says:

    You are soooo speaking my language. I began arguing with God at about age 15 and continued till I was 25. Picked up again four years ago when I turned 50 and all hell broke loose in my life. I fully comprehend that I’m the one who has to give. Working on it… Thanks for this!

    1. candidkay says:

      It really helps me to know I have a compadre out there who is working on the same thing I am :-). I will remember that next time I want to give up!

  12. MollyB111 says:

    Yup, I do love reading/checking-in here. And wow, your readers/comments, too. ❤ A divine reflection. LIFE has seemed busier now for past 6+ weeks and unexpected, too. The Universe has a (warped) sense of humor and moments there's so sense arguing with Mother. Get a good night’s sleep and we start again tomorrow… with coffee or tea 😊

    1. candidkay says:

      We can start with martini? Wink wink.

  13. Dale says:

    Oh Kristine!
    Didn’t I have a similar period where I told the Universe (same difference) that enough was enough!
    You handled yours with tremendous grace, I tell ya..
    Lotsa love,
    Dale

    1. candidkay says:

      Grace and a teensy Bit of red wine 🙂 face. Which I think contributed to the Grace. Wink wink.

      1. Dale says:

        Hello? Drinking the red elixir as we speak… 😉

      2. candidkay says:

        One of the many reasons I love you, of course. 😘

  14. Judy says:

    I’ve yelled at God more times than I can count. There was no one else to listen, and I know He listens, like any truly concerned parent. He lets me rant and scream and cry. Usually, nothing changes, but I know I’ve been heard. I figure His shoulders are broad enough to handle whatever I throw His way. I think what’s important to Him is that He’d rather have me yelling at Him than turn my back on Him. At least I’m talking to Him. He is more than capable of waiting me out. Blessedly.

    Sorry to hear about the accident. How frustrating! Bet the woman who refers to you as “the write” would be miffed if you referred to her at “The Woman.” 🙂 You can always guide your son, make sure he understands the nitty gritty so he’s able to make a more informed decision.

    Glad to hear you tackled what you could, you. 😉 Go you!!

    1. candidkay says:

      That’s the beautiful thing about God. Even when we bring less than our best self, we are loved completely. And how often does that happen with our fellow human beings? Thank you for the encouragement :-).

  15. shamanism1 says:

    Tough day my friend! Not always easy to sit back and observe chaos and be calm. Sounds like you handled it beautifully and with loads of awareness too. Gratefully, we all get to do it better the following day. Sending lots of easy days ahead Kristine. 💕💚🙏🏻

    1. candidkay says:

      From your lips to God’s ears. Easy peasy:). Ironically, my word for this year was “ease.” I think God took it as a challenge to show me how to achieve despite events instead of because of events . . .

      1. shamanism1 says:

        Ha yes! Easy is easy when we know how.

  16. When I lost a baby for the second time a good friend and pastor said to me, “it is okay to be angry with God. He is a big boy, he can handle it.”

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry. Losing a baby is something I can’t fathom–and I’m sure God gives us a lot of headroom for anything that devastating. Your friend sounds like a wise pastor . . .

  17. mydangblog says:

    Sometimes you find the answers you were looking for in the most surprising places!

    1. candidkay says:

      Right?! Although I’m looking into not finding them in things like car accidents. I’m sure there are lessons in winning the lottery or writing a best seller that I’d be happy to learn:).

  18. I have talked to God more this past month then I ever have and it is a month where the bad stuff hasn’t happened (really). I began thankful for my amazing life and healthy body and I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it has been getting even better. So giving God an earful wouldn’t work for me. Who am I to demand his/her personal attention? I don’t think God would get me for the tongue lashing, but karma certainly would.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, yes. Gratitude. What a beautiful platform for a life, eh? I’m so glad you’re there. I can be there most times–but there are days/weeks when it piles on that I have found it hard to remain in gratitude. I get better as I get older . . .

  19. Tony Burgess says:

    God is big enough to be questioned because its how we learn. Belief comes from information.

    1. candidkay says:

      This may sound overly simplistic, but I’m not sure I’ve believed due to information. I think I’ve believed due to a feeling I can’t deny. I think we get to the same end goal, just in different ways. And isn’t it great that we can do that? Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      1. Tony Burgess says:

        Nothing wrong with simplicity. Some people believe due to a feeling they cannot deny. Others believe due to information. Working out our own salvation and faith is done with a little fear and trembling.

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