…and safe from all distress

This has been a crappy week, as was the week before it. I will not go into why, & I promise you don’t care. You don’t have to; it’s fine.

The reason I am writing about it, or rather around it, is not because it is still bothering me. It is not, though my body still bears the mild wounds of this past fortnight (bruises, celiac nonsense).

I am writing rather because what defines a crappy week for me has changed, & that’s miraculous.

It is cause for gratitude.

And it’s easily processed & handled.

This was not always the case. I am one of those people whose difficulties all came early in life. Meet any tough old broad, & that’s generally the case for her. She started as a terrified child, & her world was darkness. This is why all your problems seem trivial & ridiculous to her, & why she says things like “Put on your big girl panties, buttercup.” I imagine her name is Arlene, & she smokes Marlboro Reds & refinished her own kitchen & has a son that died in childbirth that she never talks about.

You think she’s mean, & you hate working with her. She’s a font of wisdom. Make any excuse to be with her.

I am not an Arlene, though I have my moments. Arlene is tougher than me. I prefer Arlenes to Karens in accounting, who always tell you they like your hair but whisper to all & sundry, “Doesn’t that girl have an iron?”

Bitch, I’ve pressed more palms than you have shirts. Nobody likes you, Karen. I’ll pray for you.

Anyhow.

When I was younger, “crappy week” was a euphemism. Now, a crappy week is really just actually a crappy week.

This is cause for celebration! My problems are no longer dark nights of the soul — vigils in terror. They’re just having to deal with dumb crap. It’s amazing.

“Wait, wait, hang on,” says you. “Don’t you write all the time now about giving things to Christ & love & prayer & how that’s all awesome?”

YES. Yes I do. And this is that! It may not seem like that. But it is!

Jesus never said that being part of the Kingdom of God was like…I don’t know…an all inclusive resort package. Don’t confuse Heaven with the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is right here. We’re it. We’re supposed to be making things as loving & awesome as we can here. That doesn’t mean we’re immune to all the other crap here.

During the Lord’s Prayer, as many of you know, the priest says the embolism, which to some of y’all may sound like a medical condition you desperately want to avoid. For the latter folk, this is generally how it goes…

“…and deliver us from evil.

[Priest] Deliver us, Lord, from every evil.

Graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of thy mercy, we may be always free from sin, & safe from all distress, as we await the Blessed hope and the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.

[all] for the Kingdom, the power, & the glory are yours now & forever.”

That sounds like we expect God to just make us happy all the time, but that’s not true. An earlier translation of this prayer explicates the true sense of the word distress: “and safe from all anxiety.”

God’s job isn’t to protect us from the world any more than it’s your earthly father’s job to stand in front of you 24/7 just in case a train comes hurtling at you. That’s weird.

We collectively made a decision as humans to exercise free will (illustrated beautifully in the creation myth), & because of that we’ve chosen to live in the world rather than the figurative Garden. God’s like, “Okay, I love you, but y’all crazy.”

But we pray to God to give us our daily bread, forgive us, fortify us in temptation, & strengthen us spiritually so we can be in this world without tripping out about dumb crap.

This, too, shall pass. It really will. It may pass like a kidney stone. It may take decades, depending on how long it takes for you to stop standing on your own proverbial dick.

So I’ve had a crappy two weeks, & I’m exhausted & achy. But it will pass. And it will pass sooner than the early stuff. It will pass sooner than the dumb crap I got myself into trying to process the early stuff.

Have you ever seen a little bunny or a kitten or puppy get themselves into something they can’t get out of? And the more they struggle, the more they hurt themselves? Or like that fat German rat? Screaming & screaming while the guy saved him?

That’s one of the best analogies I’ve witnessed for God & ourselves…ever. “I HATE YOU! GET AWAY FROM ME! GET THAT THING OFF ME! PUT ME DOWN oh hey I’m free, thanks.”

And then sometimes the silly creature goes & does the same damned thing again.

I mean. Is that not us?

The other glorious thing is that I had pockets of comfort & joy during the crappy two weeks, which is a novel concept for me. Most of them came at church, with my friends lovingly laughing at my foibles & giving me opportunities to help them in meaningful ways, so I didn’t feel totally ridiculous. Mastery, even of a small thing, reinforces our connection to God.

If you don’t believe me, get up right now & wipe down a counter top. Don’t try to win a fight with your cat; I just tried that, & even with soft paws, he bested me.

My sparring partner is fluffy, yet brutal. Look at this black belt of reflexes:

Anyhow. Be the bunny. Let Him lift you out. Then your crappy weeks will really just be silly, crappy weeks. Forgettable. Funny, even, like a month later. Or to the Arlenes now.

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