Yesterday, for July 11th Heartlight.org gave me a daily Bible quote
“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” – Job 7:11(NIV)
This verse is about the ability of venting one’s anguish to God and not worrying about being a complaining or ungrateful bitch see
… such is my hard lot, I will at least have the melancholy satisfaction of venting my sorrow in words.
The Hebrew opening words are literally “Therefore I, at all events,”
It is an incredible satisfaction to know that such things are not only allowed but encouraged by the Lord and .the pun of Job Seven Eleven for July Eleven was not lost on me either.
Sometimes I think back to Psalm 118 and say when I am very angry or irritable, and think this is ok, but often I find it amazing that there is only verse that proclaims this. I mean the Bible is a big book a very big book, and only one verse seems rather meagre to me, as so much of it is repeated differently, new analogies, current themes and so on, but I never find anywhere remarking on supporting bits, so finding another, was sheer joy.
Most people these days feel that complaining to the Lord about the Lord blasphemy. I have seen this on sites and blogs and feel small and inadequate. I think of this one woman, who on her blog exclaims, All is Good, an incredible feat of either self-denial or stupidity, I am never sure which and depending upon my mood vacillate between the two. I cannot see it as stupid or that one is fooling oneself. I think it is the strength of God, our true magnificient and wonderful God, that he allows, nay encourages us, to talk back to him and question him and ask like a child to a parent Why?
Job is a perfect example, and where I did my honours paper; I guess I forgot this verse. I mean Job complains bitterly about his treatment. He points to being a pious man, a God-fearing man while his friends tell him obviously that is not the case. How do they know? Honestly, how can tell who or what is God thinking?
To me his two friends seem rather little souls, ungrateful and spiteful, not to mention petty. Job OTOH complains about his treatment not about his piety, or lackof, nor does he ever doubt God’s existence; that to be honest there is a difference.
I can identify with Job. When I read him in college for a literature course it was the one book in the OT that really resonated with me; here I am doing my best, following the word and what happens?
Where is your Mercy, where is your Love? How can you, do this to me? Of course when it’s not happening to you, you can laugh and joke and say Job isn’t that a bit much?
But for me like Job those words resonate in ways I cannot fully explain because my words are inadequate and nothing can truly show pain and anguish unless one has experienced its utter and terrible loss.
Seven Eleven also rang home for me as it was three years after the day my mother died. She was old at 90 and the last year she had been very ill with various complaints that were finally being sorted out like a too tight esophagus that had been a bane of her existence that they finally medicated, various skin infections from being wheelchair bound and last but not least handling her emotional aggression – which often took a violent course as she physically lashed out at anyone near her — usually me.
Despite all the problems of caring for her, is despite similar to in spite of? Well despite all those concerns, worries and day to day troubles, I was heartbroken when she died. I still miss her often and think how much when she was stable and well, she was a lot of fun to be around and how much I enjoyed her company.
I am not saying that she was always fun, and that everything was good. That would be a lie. She was difficult, moody and often irascible, but overall it was good.
The good times made up for the bad, she was not evil and vicious like a mad dog, but human and prone to mistakes….and let me say she made some whoppers. So she was not perfect, yep Mum was not perfect., I have done and said it and put it in print. Mum was not perfect but she was a joy to know; she was understanding, caring and loving.
She had a great sense of humour which you could often evoke even when she was cursing and yelling about some stupid thing that would stop her in her tracks and make her laugh… she stop her yelling and laugh herself and say, Oh well, you gotta point there, and it would be over.
There is something inherently good about someone who can see and accept their foibles. Something kind and loving there, that they are not perfect despite their sudden belief in their own infallibility, taken usually in the height of anger. Something human about the thought that they too could be self-righteousness and that was probably wrong.
Those were the good things and so while everything was not all good and sunny, it was fun, enjoyable and happily realistic.
I think the ability to laugh at one’s own smugness is important.
The other day I saw in Barnes and Nobles a group of smug jackasses telling and cooing to each other about their self-righteousness and how valid it was. After about five minutes of this loud self-validation I left. Normally I would say something, this time I did not. I didn’t even loudly slam a book, mutter or curse. I was pretty quiet and just left.
After I did all I kept thinking was about the South Park episode where Randy so filled with self-complacency started to believe that instead of his shit not stinking it actually smelt fragrant like the bouquet of a fine wine.
Had my mother been like that I doubt I would have taken care of her much less missed her. I probably would have stayed in Silicon Valley with my job at Oracle and lived the good life and never looked back.
But she wasn’t like that. She would have been looking askance at them, when she could hear them, later on they wouldn’t have bothered her because she would not have known that they were saying anything and instead would have been wondering why I was leaving. Now that would have been a scene…
Her: Hey I thought we were having a good time here, what happened.
Me: I am not having a good time.
Her: And you’re going to blame me aren’t you. I know what you’re like, you’re going to say it’s me. Well I won’t leave. I’m happy.
Me: No it’s not you Ma. It’s.. (falling silent and giving the obnoxious ones a nod)
Her: Huh? What the hell are you talking about?
And since she could not hear very well and refused a hearing device this would have been said loudly…all too loudly in the bookstore making it all the more uncomfortable. Finally she would have gotten the hint, and we could leave but that scenario would not have been quiet at all, but all too loudly and troublesome with people staring and looking at us like I was a barbarian.
THinking about it now, I guess my anguish with God is like that. Uncomfortable, vexing and often distressing. We feel that we should be saying like some smiley robot “It’s all good…It’s all good…Yessiree it’s all good” but can’t and I think for some who have all these rules and inner challenges it causes discomfit with Him.
I OTOH don’t have that problem. I complain, bitch, moan, holler and curse. Yes I literally curse asking him like he was a friend, What the hell is going on here? You do know I need this don’t you? So what’s happening? What have I done that you no longer love me…care for me or even like me. I wanna know….yelling and squawking about like a petulant child in the grocery store wanting to know why they can’t have this next toy, gewgaw or thingamabob…yelling and squawking, well like Job.