Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saying it Out Loud

I was talking to my friend Mary yesterday. As always, she asked me how I was doing. Everyone asks me that question. Usually, I respond with "Pretty good." If its a close friend, I might say "I'm tired a lot." But yesterday, my friend asked me how I was doing. I took a deep breath and I told her. "I'm so exhausted, I can hardly stand it. I haven't got any thing finished for Christmas, and I'm trying not to be stressed about that, but I am. I love Christmas. I love the preparations. This year, I can't get excited about them at all. I'm also tired of trying to figure out what to say to well meaning people who say things like 'you need to make sure that you're learning what God wants to teach you' (my immediate response, always choked back before the words are said: 'Why? If I don't, is God going to give me cancer again?) or the people who want to know why I haven't called.
I told her that I was angry and impatient. Frustrated at Tim's job loss, and the shoddy treatment at the hands of his boss. Disappointed that things are, financially, so tight right at Christmas. Afraid to think about insurance. As far as we know, we still have it. Can an insurance company go back and cancel you retroactively? We don't know. COBRA is not offered when a company goes out of business. We did not have a clue about that.
While I was baring my soul, I said, "I'm sick, Mary. I'm sick all the time, and really, I didn't expect that one, because I'm NEVER sick. I'm lonely because hardly anyone calls. I feel like a poor wife to my husband, a poor excuse for a mother, like everything is about me, and my routine, and my shots, and my appointments, etc." Finally, I stop talking, ashamed, and grab for a Kleenex.
Mary quietly begins talking. She tells me that I need to be selfish. She reminds me that Tim's job loss does add stress to the situation. She comments that I need to stop saying "I'm fine" because she's known right along that I'm lying to her. And when she's done talking, I do feel better.


Stuart Peel said...

I can't believe that people are trying to lecture you ! What a bunch of pompous, self-righteous morons they must be. I'd be tempted to headbutt them myself.

Mary Paddock said...

Debby, It's okay to not be fine right now. In fact, it's okay to be all the things you've just mentioned. I'm always somewhat suspicious of people who insist they're fine when I know their lives are upside down. I have more respect for those who say, "I'm hurting and I'm scared, but I'm trusting God anyway." In the end we're still imperfect souls housed in clay vessels.

As for people who say things like that--I have a theory about them and it goes like this. They are pinning their hopes on the idea that if they are "good enough" (pray enough, read enough of the Bible, eat the right foods . . . ) that the kinds of things they see happening to you won't happen to them. They want there to be something wrong with something you're doing so they'll feel safer. In my opinion, Christians can be especially bad about this, but no one is immune.

You're in my prayers daily.

MuseSwings said...

I'm glad Mary made you feel better! Anyone in their right mind would understand that when you say you are "fine" it is relative to what you are going through. There are many levels of "fine" - yours just happens to be about 80 levels below the rest of us right now.

As for people who say wierd things about God, you can say one of two things:

How could YOU possibly know what God is thinking?

or better yet

That's the stupidest damn thing I ever heard in my entire life.

You may add if appropriate:

Except for that thing you told me last week. That was even stupider.

That should make you feel better! Hugs to you!

A Novel Woman said...

I suppose you find out who your real friends are during a time of crisis. There are the ones who ask how you are, and they WANT to hear "I'm fine" and then there are your soul sisters who want to know the real deal. Surround yourself with the latter.

As for the pompous, self-righteous, "well-meaning" people who ask if you're learning the right lessons from God, you just say "no, I'm too busy trying to beat my illness right now and keep up with everyday life. Perhaps if YOU were listening to God's lessons, you'd offer to pick up my groceries, do a load of laundry and cook my family a meal or two."


Anonymous said...

I'll ring you! Anytime. Happy to have a chin wag, as we say down here. I think, no - I KNOW, even ill, tired and fed up, you would be an amazing person to speak with. (You are already)

Portia said...

Thank goodness God doesn't teach us like that because I wouldn't have made it out of my teenage years.

Scotty said...

Happy to have a chin wag also if you ever need it - chin up, girl; you're entitled to feel the way you do.

Lavinia said...

Debbie, I will call you. I'd love to speak to you. Please, please, please email me your number. Long distance charges do not figure into this equation. Let's talk!! my email address on my blog.

Redlefty said...

Looks like you had a good friend and listener at just the right time!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Debby, I would like to say a few things to those goofy people that are talking to you about 'learning'. When my daddy was sick, my mom had gone through so much and one of our neighbors asked how my mom was doing. She told her it was difficult and the neighbor said, "Well, His grace is sufficient." My mom came back with "Have you tried it lately? This is not easy" If you would have known my mother this was so out of character for her, but she was sick of people saying such self-righteous, goofy things and although we know His grace is sufficient, there is clearly a time to say that and a time to be there for someone and be compassionate. I continue to pray for you and I too, would love to talk to you. My email's trishw824@gmail.com. I hope I hear from you. luv ya, Trish

Bush Babe said...

What Stuart said... and Pam... and everyone.

You know, I wish I was closer... I would visit you til you told me to go. Maybe a bit sooner - Violet would wear out her welcome, I swear!! Know that we visit you here, at your blog, often, and you visit our thoughts even more regularly.

I have to say, that you Yanks seem to have more than your share of religious morons... seriously, any Aussie talking bulldust like that would be shot down in flames. Out here anyway. Laugh in their stupid faces Deb. If you have the energy.

If not, send them here to look at our comments.

We love ya!

jeanie said...

Hey there Deb - I would have commented earlier but someone above me here has been borrowing my computer, so I would have had to log out, log in, remember my awesome comment and it was beyond me - see, sometimes the term "fine" can mean "oh my goodness, get me out of this nightmare".

I bet there are times when you want to throw out that sort of "fine". The sort of "fine" that says "could I please have a day off from this trial and tribulation thrown at me by the idiosyncracies of life (and sweetheart, I TRULY don't believe the sort of god I like to believe in would be dealing this sort of carp out with a scorecard)".

I am so glad that you have a Mary who can cut through that sort of fine and let you unload.

I hope that you understand we would love to be part of Mary's number. I have Skype and would love to field a "fine" or two.

M+B said...

I'm glad you have such a good friend in Mary :-)

Bob said...

Your friend Mary gave you great advice. No reason to pretend something that's not true.