This post had been relegated to the “failed drafts” folder, for having no redeeming qualities and managing to sound pissy despite being toned down more than once, when who should walk into my living room and say, “whoa, stop, you should publish that” than my favorite author Anne Lamott!?
That’s not precisely how it happened, but it felt like that. What actually happened was that Anne published a blog post similar in energy and tone to this one, except that it’s beautifully written and ends on a somewhat redemptive note.
So in a cheap writerly turnabout, I’m going to append Anne’s post to this one and call the whole thing a plus for the universal karma.
Even if it is essentially just a rant at God. Anne’s kind of bitching at God, too, which makes it acceptable. I don’t like taking this tone with God, but it’s all I’ve got right now. Besides, the Psalms are full of “godly” people throwing out angry questions like:
“Why is life like this, God?”
“What’s it take to get your attention down here?”
“Hello, how much do we have to put up with before you see our plight?”
“Is this any way to run a world??”
So I’m joining the ranks of ranters. If you’re depressed, please don’t read this. It won’t help.
Things are bad. Really, really bad. And I’m thinking it’s time for you to fix it.
I’m confused about the plan, God.
It’s my understanding that we all have a spark of the Divine within us, and it’s our job in life to dismantle the inner obstacles that keep us from channeling Pure You — goodness and love and the like. That’s one of the ways you reveal yourself in the world: through the people you created. I like this part of the plan.
We need to intentionally connect with you so that we have the desire and power to fix what we’ve screwed up here. OK, I’m game. And I’m certain that you are right here in this mess, accompanying us and offering to help us clean things up.
And thanks for that. But — from my humble vantage point, this plan is not working.
We’re a Mess
Maybe I’m just having a bad day; I’ve been having a lot of them lately. But I don’t think it’s only me. Three friends have recently said these exact words to me: “I can barely function.”
These are praying people, trying to channel God, but instead they seem to have tapped into the spirit of Eeyore. Should we just put extra-strength anti-depressants in the water supply and be done with it?
As a friend said the other day, “I don’t know what’s going on — it seems like everyone’s walking around under a dark cloud.”
Yeah – and we’re a bunch of relatively well-off suburbanites doing our gardening and going to the gym and paying the gas bill. We don’t live in the frickin’ Gaza Strip; our daughters weren’t kidnapped by extremists in Nigeria, nor were our families on the Malaysian airliner recently blown out of the sky. Or any of the other planes that have been falling out of the sky of late.
This Rant Precipitated By…
World events did not bring on this rant, though they may have contributed.
Here’s what put me over the edge:
I stopped to give my condolences to my neighbor J who had just returned from North Carolina where she was cleaning out the beach house of her recently deceased partner. Who as you know, God, randomly fell and hit his head and died. Just like that. Did that have to happen — right after J’s surgery and during her radiation treatment for breast cancer?
Anyway, I was helping her carry things from the car and she told me she had just had an accident on the beltway. “It isn’t the accident that’s got me shaken, it was the other woman. She had the foulest mouth of anyone I’ve ever met.”
You have to picture my neighbor J — First of all, she’s clearly a cancer patient; she’s bald. She’s very pale. I don’t think she hits five feet, even with her little pink sunhat perched on her bald head. She somehow reminds me of a rabbit — timid and watchful, always sniffing the wind and ready to bolt.
Here’s what the other woman on the beltway said to her: “F&&%%CK YOU! Look what you did to my car! YOU F$@*CKING BI#%^CH! My fifty-thousand-dollar Mercedes! I’m going to get you for this, you F%&$CKING BI#%^CH! I’m going to get you!”
“She didn’t just say it once, she said it about fifty times,” said J, looking dazed. “She gave me her insurance card, but when I tried to copy it down, she snatched it back and started screaming, ‘I’m going to get you, bi*^%ch!’” Then the woman drove off.
I told J that the woman was clearly unbalanced, and to try to let it go and simply call the police to report the accident.
“I think she had some anger issues,” ventured J.
I Am Not Amused, God
Who would do that, God? Mentally unbalanced or not, the madwoman in the Mercedes functions well enough to have a good job and make good money. Can’t she afford a therapist? How can she walk around like that, an infected open wound gushing venom on little old ladies with cancer?
I won’t even start on mental illness, God, because you know how angry I am about that, regularly haranguing you about my brother’s descent into darkness and death. I probably sound a bit like the Mercedes Madwoman myself as I grumpily tackle the gloomy task of cleaning out his hoarder-house. But at least I’m not inflicting my temper tantrums on anyone but you.
Is There a Plan B?
What about the young woman I know who just slashed her wrists with the lid of a can? And my sweet, intelligent young friend who is stuck in a religious cult?
Why are so many people so sick? Aren’t you going to do something about this? Why are we killing each other all the time? Why did you make us like this? I know that you want us to choose differently, to be the loving and lovely people you made us to be. But we don’t seem to be doing that.
So excuse my impertinence, God, but don’t you have a Plan B? Are we *really* the hope of the world?
Thanks for bearing with me, readers. And now for that promised redemption. Here’s Anne Lamott: