Pathetic Whining

So I went to church today.  The bell choir and a violinist did a version of “It is Well with my Soul”, that made the hair on the back of my neck tingle.  Hymns really resonate with me.  There is something about a song that has been around for a while that makes me feel connected to the wider church body. 


The pastor gave a sermon on Prevenient Grace.  The idea that God has and always will call us back to Him, even when we are not seeking Him.  The pastor used the illustration of a wireless network to highlight the point.  How the router is always calling out with a signal regardless of whether or not a PC responds.  He said grace was God calling us, we choose whether or not in respond to the signal.  It was a cool idea, but I cannot help but think my antenna is broken. 


I am really trying.  I am attending a Lenten Bible study, I am doing devotions, I am trying to plug into ministry, but so far I am still feeling disconnected.


It is funny Jenn and I were having one of our late night discussions a few days ago.  We were discussing how for about 5 years, I was on a spiritual high.  I was leading a small group that turned into a full fledged ministry.  I had just completed the first phase of ministry candidacy.  I was going to seminary in the fall.  My job was going awesome.  I was unbelievably happy.  I remember driving to the hospital the day of my son’s birth.  While driving in, we talked about the perfection of our lives.  Wondering how our lives could possibly be better.


The rest of that day I see in flashes.  The anxious waiting, the smell of cauterized skin, the blue baby with a flipper, the desperate attempts to resuscitate, the worried glances of the nursing staff and pediatricians, telling Jenn there were problems, calling work and instinctively saying “everything was OK”, then crying uncontrollably when my mom asked how it went.  Then the litany of bad news, incomplete digestive track, hole in his heart, club foot, tethered spinal cord, the year of surgeries, the allergies, the asthma, the incontinence and on and on.  I collectively think of all of this as the Beast. 


Make no mistake, I love my son.  I am crazy about him!!!  I blame him for NONE of this.  It is just easier for me to think of all the illness as a separate entity, the Beast.  The Beast keeps attacking our family and we keep beating it back. 


The thing is I wonder if I ever had faith before Ethan was born.  Was everything before then just silly superstition that I followed to “keep the good times rolling?”  God was my cosmic slot machine.  Faith was mostly an insurance policy to maintain prosperity.  In a flash it was all gone.


My faith is still there, it is just different.  I no longer think of friendship with Jesus.  He is more like a demanding boss who occasionally displays moments of benevolence.  I loath the fact that I let all this bring me down.  I feel so weak and stupid for relying on pharmaceuticals to maintain mental stability.  I hate that my body has gone to pot.  But damn it the Beast is not going to win.  I cling to the verse “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.”  So God if you are reading this blog, I am not giving up.  Would it kill You to give a little guidance? 

By Ben Posted in Life

11 comments on “Pathetic Whining

  1. I hear ya Big brother! it’s funny to think about faith before a serious situation. Like you said it’s not God that did this but the Beast!

  2. I wonder what was going through Abraham’s mind when God said “sacrifice your only son, Isaac” Did he doubt at that time, was he angry, did he see God as a “demanding boss?” Being he was human, and fallible, I mean he was a liar and didn’t trust God, right? He had to have thoughts like that. I guess what I am trying to say Ben, is that you are in good company.

    Does that help, probably not, huh? I am not trying to lay out a bunch of empty platitudes, or even give you a “pep talk.” This is just the thought that went through my puny brain as I read your blog.

  3. Thanks for commenting. I love this medium. I say things in my blog that I would never share with people in person. The thing I find amazing is that I am not alone. Reading everone elses blogs I am accutely aware that we all carry a lot of stuff around that we hide from the people around us.

    Nothing anyone says necessarily makes any problem better, but knowing other people have problems somehow makes it OK. I have never lost a child, or had one that suffered from mental illness, I have never lost a job, I have never been in a serious car accident, I have never lost a parent, I haven’t recently lost a friend, but knowing that other people are dealing with loss somehow reminds me that what I am going through is not unique. It is not even particularly uncommon.

    The thing is since I have started blogging, I no longer dwell on my problems. I write it and I let it go. And usually I find common ground. I wrote this posting last night and I WAS in a mood. But today I feel better.

    All that to say, thanks for reading. It means a lot that you would take the time to comment.

  4. Once again, I’m speechless at your openness (in a good way) so I’ll say the only words that are truly meaningful to men like us in a heavy blog like this. Sing out loud, let the meaning of the words wash over you:

    I’m picking out a thermos for you.
    Not an ordinary Thermos for you.
    But the extra best Thermos that you can buy,
    with vinyl and stripes and a cup built right in.

    I’m picking out a thermos for you,
    and maybe a barometer too.
    And what else can I buy,
    so on me you’ll rely?
    A rear end thermometer too.


  5. I don’t need anything but this pen. Oh I need this! I don’t need anything but this pen and this chair…

  6. And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.

    And I don’t need one other thing, except my dog.
    [dog barks]

    I don’t need my dog.

  7. Good Lord – I’ve heard about this – cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a God that would let this happen?

    Sorry but it is Brian’s fault!

  8. Very well Ben, since you asked, here it is. Do everything that Snowblind tells you too, most of what Tim tells you too. Don’t listen to Brian. He was supposed to become a Catholic priest, so I am still miffed at him.

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