Thursday, June 24, 2010

#198: Hey, God. Back Off, Huh?

There is a kind of aloofness to cancer. When life is so close to death, it is hard for day to day things to get your attention. So many things are done for me now. Mrs P takes care of my meds and food. My short term disability check from work shows up on Thursday, direct deposited into the bank. I take a pill at bedtime and am put to sleep. I take a bath in the morning and am driven to the hospital. Staying alive is my full time job. Whatever doesn't threaten that has a hard time getting on my radar.

So when the Honda had to go to the shop, I didn't really think about it much. Our mechanic, Paul had decided that the problem was beyond his expertise, and sent us to a Honda man whom he trusted. Stevie did all he could to find something easy to fix, but we wound up replacing the cylinder head on our little CRV. I had ignored the engine light for too long. Stupid, but we were broke and anything would have been too much money to fix the car last winter. We spent more money than I paid for my first two cars getting the Honda back on the road. Thanks, AFLAC.

In the Laurel and Hardy spirit of the day, as we were driving both vehicles home, my phone rang. It was Mrs P calling from her Malibu. The Chevy's engine light had just come on. I didn't know whether to shit or go blind. Instead, we called Paul and made an appointment to have him read the code on Friday morning. Thanks, AFLAC.

When we got home, Mrs P went downstairs to put some laundry in the dryer. She called to me, frightened. Our little cat, Mo had been sick in several places downstairs. He hasn't been eating right, and is very tiny to begin with, so losing weight is serious stuff for him. We've lost three of our animals in the past few months. Losing Mo is not something either of us is prepared to deal with right now. We called and made an appointment with the doc. His regular vet is on vacation, but the sub had very little hopeful to say. "It could be terrible possibility 'A', or terrible possibility 'B'."  We'll get an ultra-sound next week and see what else we can find out. Thanks, AFLAC.

This is all a lot to take in. Mrs P is devastated by the situation with Mo. The cars just make it worse. I find myself in the absurd position of being able to pay for all this because I have a cancer policy. To be honest, auto repairs are not what I had in mind for that money, but I'm grateful it's there. I feel like I should just ignore all the little things that come along, but these are not really little things. To be honest, its pretty hard not to feel like God is piling on.

My friend just had her divorce finalized. She feels like it's the worst year of her life. I know what she means. We've gone through a lot around here in the last two years. Laid off. Two failed career changes. Six weeks in a mental hospital. Taking a minimum wage job to keep from losing my mind again. Cancer. Losing Molly our beloved Golden, Sniffy the little orphan cat, and Buddy, the 22 year old Brooklyn street cat who moved to Kentucky with us in 1994. After all that, you just start to feel like God should lay off a little bit, you know?

I get really mad at him, sometimes. Especially when I see how much this is hurting Mrs P. She, of all people doesn't deserve this crap. She's dedicated herself to service for as long as I've known her. For eleven years she took care of animals and the people who love them as a veterinary assistant. She was so good at it that she decided to become a clinical social worker to help people deal with all kinds of loss. She has been married to this exasperating Pennsyltuckian for almost 21 years and forgiven more sins than most men know how to commit. She deserves a little mercy.

I used to pray for God to take away her suffering and give it to me. I actually DO deserve it. Instead he's played this cruel joke by giving me cancer and making things even harder on her. I hate this.

Last Sunday, the preacher talked about Elijah. The old prophet had done all he could do, embarrassed the priests of Baal, put them to the sword, shown that Jehovah God WAS God. What did he get? Ahab put a price on his head and he fled into the desert, laid him down, and waited to die. He prayed, "God, I did everything you told me to do and it hasn't changed a thing. Why don't you just leave me alone?" God told him, after a lot of godly rigmarole to get up, go back home, and finish his job. Nice way to treat an old man.

In a way, I envy Elijah. At least he had a job to do. It was a lousy job, but clear. You're a profit. Go make prophesy. What am I? That's my prayer to you God, as I sit here in my cave in the desert. Just what the hell am I supposed to be and what the hell do you want from me and what do I have to do to get you to leave the people I love alone?

I'm sure a more faithful man would have the answers to all this. Like I'm supposed to go feed the poor or make disciples or something, but it all seems a little vague. Especially when you compare it to a sick little cat or my wife's broken heart. I'd like a little guidance here, Mr. God, sir. If you can take a minute away from beating the shit out of creation.

It would be great if you were at least as helpful as AFLAC. Maybe you should get a duck.


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