We’ve been on trial lately. Not in the Court T.V. version, more in the reality T.V. vein. My back sucks. It hurts a lot. I got a cortisone epidural shot and it is a little better but I have had to take strong pain meds. I hate drugs and what they do to me (if you can imagine me without inhibitions) so I quit them. Every day is a new experience in my body where I feel like someone gave me someone else’s leg and this other person's leg weighs 100 lbs and wants to go in a different direction from the rest of me. This beats pain and makes my cold tingly big toe not near as noticeable, but frankly it sucks.
As much as I like to whine about life, I try not to whine about my health. I was raised by a father who attended the John Wayne School: SUCKITUP U! I’m glad I went to that school it made me tough. I was tough enough to have 4 kids, without so much as an aspirin for pain. It made me tough enough to live with chronic pain since I was 16 (I had a VERY physically active child hood) and most of the people in my life didn’t even know it. So, it means something significant that I am willing to tell you I hurt more than I ever hurt before in a body that is not doing things I recognize as reasonable for longer than I have patience to endure it without at least whining a little bit about it.
Meanwhile, my husband is in a new job. It’s described in a myriad of ways but mostly he says he drinks from a fire hose all day. He gets up at 4:00 a.m. and comes home at 6:00 p.m. and tries to pick up my slack (or my slacks if they need washing) and give me a break from the baby or drive one of the kids to one of their places or in the case of this week, “duties” as assigned so I can be in the recording studio or at rehearsal every night. He does all this and balances check books and collects recyclables and coupons until he tries to get to sleep a few hours later but is not allowed to really sleep until about 10:00 ish. This is when things just get hopping around here so it’s tough on him. It’s tough on all of us.
Don’t worry about my husband. He’s an A student. He sits in the front row, takes notes and does not talk out of turn. He is on time, in his seat when the bell rings and graduated Summa cum Laude. He’ll succeed at his job. He was bred for it.
Don’t worry about me. I’m a B+ student. I sit where it’s comfortable, go to class when I feel like going, have lots of friends to give me their notes to copy from or remind me when things are due. I talk out of turn if I have something needing said, (usually when someone has set up the perfect joke). I was the class clown. I’ll get through this pain. I was bred for it.
The trouble is that when we are both in trouble I look over to him and say, “Storm’s a coming, better get that seltzer water and “ah-oooga” horn. I’ll get the baggy pants, and unicycle. It’s gonna be a doozey!”
He looks over to me and simultaneously says, “Oxygen is not a sure thing. Life is going to be extremely hard to sustain and if we survive at all, it will be difficult to endure and not feel worth living most days. I suggest we spend this brief time we have left doing something important and useful like watering plants or sorting the socks”.
See the problem?
So, even though I like to blog about what bugs me and so my husband is often the bug I blog about. Truth is, he’s great, as bugs go. So am I, frankly. But we DO bug each other a lot, especially in tough times.
That’s where God comes in. One of the things I really like about God is that I can find Him everywhere, sometimes even the Bible which I have read entirely twice but since I over dosed in my 20’s (or my “fundys” as I refer to my fundamentalist period now) I feel like I have so much of it in my system I only take as needed for pain.
Randy on the other hand, has a system. He takes it like a vitamin on scheduled and regimented times, first thing in the morning. Though born and raised in the church, it is a fairly new practice within the past few years. I believe he is following a plan, which he almost never deviates from to get through the whole book a little at a time by a certain day in the distance. That is how he does things, bit by bit by bit. Where as I, bite off more than I can chew and move on.
He was raised in the church so he caught a lot of his virtue by punching his Jesus card every week (by the 12th week, you get a free Mason…or maybe a Free Baptist. I’m not clear on what you get free for having your Jesus card stamped 12 times. Maybe you’re just holier than thou).
I was not raised in the church. I found the Bible on my own so I discovered everything brand new and applied it to what God had been telling me about life already. It was, as everything else in my life, I’m afraid, assumed that it was written just for me, just that morning in anticipation that I’d be reading it that night. (I still think that’s true. And it’s true for everyone regardless of when they read it, but that’s the subject of another blog).
So, why talk about a God at a time like this? I’m mad at MY man for being too tired and busy for me. He’s mad at me for being too stubborn and busy for me, let alone the rest of the family. We’re both really mad at each other cause life sucks right now but we’re not even allowed to be mad cause he just got a great job and at least I’m not some woman in Lebanon who stepped on a landmine. But I’m still mad at him cause he can’t make life better and he’s mad at me cause he can’t make me better. I’m ruining the precious time we have together by nagging and complaining about how little time we have together. He is threatening the only thing that helps me forget the pain by suggesting I not spend so much time out of the house working on music and instead lay around and wait for healing.
So I asked God about it this morning and this is what I found. (In Isaiah 2:22 for those of you who like to follow along in your pew Bibles) “Stop trusting in man who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” Or put in terms I might relate better to, “Don't expect so much from your husband. What does he know? He’s just a snot.”
Then I remembered one more verse that I always love to remember. “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. My yoke is easy and my burden is light and you will find rest for your soul” (Matt 11:28). Or put in terms my husband might better understand, “Lighten up, the yoke's on me!”
Everyone has something that gets him or her through a day, especially a tough day. For me it’s sometimes Nutter Butters (and that is why I grew anutter BUTTer). Lately the anticipation of an upcoming concert and recording a CD has kept me upbeat (even if I sound like Liza with a “Z” or Lucille Ball under the influence of Vita Veeta Vegiman). For my husband it is checking things off of his “to do” list.
Whatever works in trying times is worth trying a few times till it works. These are trying times and we are trying as hard as we can, and also trying each other’s patience. I am glad though, that there are recesses where I find these gems in the Book instead of having the book thrown at me; or surprise witnesses to happier times come in the mail (like spider paraphernalia from a spider loving friend of mine, sent to me today for no apparent reason but adored as if it were the Hope diamond...and it did give me hope for sparklier times) or even the guilty pleasure of a really bad food shared with a really good kid. We’ll get through this trial. I have no doubts. I suspect we’ll discover that the guilty verdict we had declared against each other will be thrown out from this mistrial. Because that is what this is, a misstrial, because at the very core of this case, we are missing each other in this trial and that is such a crime.