*Caution: If you’re offended by “bad” language, questions (especially to God) and doubt, I wouldn’t read this post. I apologize if it does, but it’s what I’m feeling right now.*
I’m having a rough time, lately. Family drama, work issues and health problems are all combining to kick my ass. My ex is moving an hour and a half away, taking my youngest daughter with her; the closer relationship I thought I was building with my older daughter seems to be falling apart; I don’t feel the passion I used to for my job; and, finally, it seems like I get one health problem under control and another crops up. If that’s not enough, my internet connection has sucked for the past week and there doesn’t seem to be much Verizon can do about it. And, where the hell is God in all this? I keep asking for help and every time I do, something else shitty comes up. Oh, that’s so fucking helpful.
I suppose the groundwork for this was laid in 2007. That was most definitely a sucky year for me. In March, I found out I had Type II diabetes and had to change my eating habits completely. At almost the same time, my daughters were in a horrific auto accident. Well, maybe horrific is overstating it a bit. But, it was bad. Then, just as I’m getting a handle on that, I hurt my knee cleaning up ice storm damage at my parent’s and wound up getting arthroscopic surgery. Two days before the surgeon released me to full duty, I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. Stage III means the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and that requires chemotherapy. Which absolutely, positively sucks. From September ’07 to February ’08 I was either recovering from surgery or throwing up my toenails. And, let me tell you, chemo sick takes “suck” to a whole new level. Without a doubt, the most violently sick I’ve ever been. More than one day, I begged God to make it stop. I didn’t care how, just make it stop. It didn’t, but I’ve always told myself that he sent people to help me through it. Right now, I’m questioning that. Why? Because, less than a year after I got through that, I started having more problems. Swelling in my head and upper body, dizziness, elevated heart rate and blood pressure and no stamina at all. The least little exertion wore me out. After about 7 months of tests and doctor visits, I found out the port that was put in to administer the chemo drugs had slipped and caused a complete blockage of my superior vena cava. It took until November of last year to that cleared up. I was fine until it started to get hot. Like 85 to 90 degrees hot. When the temperature gets that high, it’s just like it was before I underwent all that earlier shit. Now, if I lived in an area with a more northern clime or had a different job, that wouldn’t be such a big deal. Unfortunately, I’m a firefighter in North Carolina. Avoiding heat isn’t in the cards on either account. Now, I’m right back where I was last year this time: trying to figure what the hell is wrong with me. Lovely.
Like I said just a minute ago, I’m a firefighter. More precisely, I’m a Fire Lieutenant. Which is a fancy way of saying I drive the fire truck. I’ve done it for over 20 years. For the last year, however, I’ve been working in the administrative offices. Before my heart issues got the better of me, I was asking to come off the fire truck and move into a less physically demanding job because of my health problems. I’ve kept asking for the last year. I keep getting the same answer: there’s no place for you but on the truck. Never mind that I’ve had several major insults to my body and that being a firefighter is one of the most physically demanding jobs around, there’s no place for me out that atmosphere. Saying I’m not thrilled with my bosses is putting it mildly. On top of that, last November I felt called to ministry. I’ve felt a nudge in that direction in the past, but never pursued it; I was always under the impression I was just too old. Plus, I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, so how I could go to divinity school? This time, it was different. It was at a youth conference and the other leader I was working with was in the ordination process and it kept nagging at me until I asked him about. Turns out, there are several options open to us older types who feel the call. I’m really being pulled in that direction; but again, whenever I ask God for help, all I seem to get is more roadblocks.
In the first paragraph, I mentioned my ex is moving to another town and taking my daughter with her. Now, if it was just her, I’d probably celebrate. I realize that’s not a very Christian attitude, but she’s one of those people I just need to stay away from. I’m working on forgiving her for the stuff that’s transpired; but every time I do, she shits on me again. And hour and a half distance between us seems pretty attractive to me. But, it’s not just her. I’m not the perfect father, but I’m a damn good dad. And, the thought of my little girl being that far away and not being able to see her whenever I want is killing me. She also has anxiety issues and no one can convince me that uprooting her from everything she knows and is comfortable with is a good thing. My oldest daughter and I have had some ups and downs, but I’ve always tried to be there for her. Again, I’m not perfect and I’ve screwed up in the past, but I’ve done my best to make sure she knows I love her. Her mother, on the other hand, seems to glory in dumping on the girl. And, no matter what happens, she goes right back for more. Tonight, she informed me that she’s decided that the church she’s been attending with me for the last 5 years, the church that always welcomed her with open arms and done their best to nurture her and help her become the fantastic young lady that is today, just isn’t doing it for her anymore. She doesn’t feel connected and the Sunday School isn’t reaching her. So, what does she do? Talk to me or the pastor or anyone of a number of folks who could help her through this? No, she decides to transfer her membership to a church that, to me, is the very antithesis of Jesus’ message. One that practices what I consider a very exclusionary version of that message. In that last few weeks, I thought we were getting closer and, in the last two days, it’s like she’s turned her back on me and everything I believe. I’ve asking for help, guidance, anything on this and what I’ve gotten is silence. Worse than silence, everything just keeps getting worse.
Where the hell are you, God? I’m asking for your help and I’m getting nothing. Not help, not guidance, not even peace with what’s going on. Are you even there? Or, are you there and you just don’t give a shit what happens down here? I’m trying to pursue this call you’ve laid on me and this is what I get? Does my life have to be a complete shambles before you’ll do anything? I’m more than a little pissed off at you, right now. This whole relationship thing is feeling like one way street, and that sucks. I’ve been saying that I’m not in this to go to heaven, I’m in it because you make my life better. And, I’m not feeling it. Not… at… all.
To anyone who reads this: Please don’t give me platitudes about how prayer (like “God answers all prayers. Sometimes, the answer is no) or suffering or any of that kind crap. I don’t need it. If you’ve been here and have some insight or just want to say give me a pat on the back, that’s different.