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Why Me, God?

“…When has it ever paid you to turn your face from life?
Keep your faith, Bay Ly:”

–From Le Ly Hayslip’s When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

Sewer Valve | photo via db walker

Sewer Valve | photo via db walker

I yelled at God last week. Are you even there!? My shouts came on the heels of 36 hours of raw sewage in the basement; three different plumbers, and their 11 different recommended solutions each ranging from $1,000-$10,000.

For two days, we couldn’t cook, use the bathroom and wash dishes or laundry. We shuffled the kids off to grandma’s house, and when we couldn’t stand ourselves any longer, Robert and I showered at a friend’s house.

Why Me, God?

My moment of weakness arrived after Robert and I were attempting to haul a wet vac full of sewage up the basement stairs. The lid wriggled off and I had visions of a bad tumble chased by 10 gallons of you-know-what. Getting that thing up the stairs was a struggle I don’t want to relive.

While Robert went outside to gain his composure, I proceeded to yell at God pray. My prayers are never eloquent, but they are rarely as unsophisticated as they were last Wednesday.

My indulgent cry: Why me! Why me! Why me!

I actually cried into my pillow, and trust me, nobody has to tell me how uncool I must have looked, being over 17 and all. Occasionally, I self-medicate with Sugar Babies and enchiladas, but neither were close at hand.

Thankfully, the repair was not as costly as it could have been. What upset me up was getting lied to; getting pitched products and repairs I didn’t need; getting ripped off and over-charged. There was also this feeling of being so alone as we carried the wet vac up the stairs. We’d hired all this help, forked out nearly $1,000, and were left with hours of cleanup. There was no one we could call, and God sent no one to help us.

I Wish I Were Amish

There was no way Robert and I were spending the money on a clean-up crew, and I found myself wishing I were Amish with barn-raisers for neighbors. Seriously, I often wish I had a tribe or community like the Amish have. Is it just me or do you sometimes wish you were Amish, too?
Shaking my fist at God makes me feel better. It works, too, because last Wednesday, while acting a fool, He came and sat beside me, and His love for me quieted me.

The Unbearable In-between

Last week, a blogger I follow attended a funeral for his cousin’s four-year-old son. This tragedy is a laced with unprecedented irony. Will my prayers make a difference? They’re all I have to offer.

After the birth of each of my children, I was surrounded by loving friends and family. I was paroled from work for six weeks, give or take one or two, and people showed up with presents and food. They offered to watch the newborn; clean my house and run errands. I was grateful.

But, inevitably, I returned to work, which marked the end of tradition and ceremony. I entered the in-between, the profound dash, and it was then that I needed the casseroles more than ever.

People, including me, always show up at beginnings and endings, but man. Man. We need a community during the in-between.

When someone dies the conversation almost always turns to how the dead person is now in a better place, but all I can think about in those moments is the in-between. Inevitably, the mother of the boy who passed away will find his missing sock behind the dryer; his favorite toy stuffed between the cushions of the couch. These thoughts are a call to intercession because I know after the casserole dishes are returned, the unbearable in-between.

August Rain

Most mornings I awake at 5 a.m. and last Thursday was no different. I awoke and stirred in the lamplight of the TV and perked the coffee like I always do. I sunk on the couch, thinking about a $10,000 sewer repair, and BTW, God, am I ever going to be able to take my kids to Disneyworld? Next year, we’ll all be a year older.

And, then I thought of that blogger, getting on a plane, flying to the funeral of a 4-year-old boy. What kind of world do we live in anyway?

Then it came to me. God is precisely here for the in-between. He is the Balm of Gilead applied to sufferings that time alone can’t suture, and superficial stings from the darts life hurls. So, my witness is this: when I cry, I never cry alone. And, when I yell and say, WHY ME, GOD? he doesn’t runaway. He slips in next to me to listen.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Berlinkat

    I found this piece profoundly moving. (I’ve been there with the sewage in the basement situation. Insurance ended up covering it…I think because of some city pipe thing. We got lucky. But I do remember being on the verge of panic before letting go and letting God take care of it.) I love what you’ve said here about the in-between times. I remember when I was afraid to get angry with God…and at some point I realized that God already knows I am angry! Why not work it out with Him…He can take it.
    Jen – you rock.
    Thank you, once again, for putting things into perspective. I agree with your Mom that you ARE the community of which you speak.

  2. Jennifer K

    Beautifully written post, Jen.

  3. jenX

    @TERRITORY MOM – Thanks for this. I want to live where you live. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only who gives God the what-for on ocassion. I’m glad He’s OK with it.

  4. Territory Mom

    And there you go you had a glimpse of what hell is like. Yes, Lance said it all. Jen you are an amazing writer such insight. You touch people’s hearts. I know its hard to find honest repair people in the city. Out here if you think the plumber is lying you tell them “if you’re lying to me I’m calling your mom.” Oh, yes I wish I were Amish or maybe lived in a hippy commune. Oh, your welcome, you got two shout outs for favorite blog. Great job
    P.S. I’ve shouted at God so much I’m embarrassed, but I know He can take it and will still love me.

  5. jenX

    @GEORGIE – You’re a dear! Did you see you were one of my favorite posters this week!?!

    @MOM – Your words mean the most, mom. Thank you for the faith you show in me and my little blog. =)

    @CGHILL – I almost included that verse from Job – about his three friends – and how they saw him from afar and saw how distraught he was and they sat with him on the ground for 7 days and said nothing. I’ve been reflecting on this passage all week. I’m such a big fan of Dustbury. Seriously. Most intelligent, prolific blogger evahhhhh!

    @KEITH – Thank you for leaving this comment. It is a real source of encouragement for me. Like I wrote in my comment to Lance, this is another one of those posts I struggled over whether or not to post. This makes your note even more helpful to me. Blessings – jen

  6. jenX

    @LANCE – Thank you for your encouragement. This is another one of those posts that I wrote last week and then sat on for several days. I worry that I bore people and then you leave a comment like this, and you know, I have so much respect for you. And, BTW, next time you’re on blogradio do an email blast! I missed it. =) The other thing I wanted to say is, I think you’re a barnraiser.

    @YOGI – In the last year I’ve had a brother get cancer; a brother-in-law have a stroke and a grandmother die. *i understand* Robert and I have always wanted to make that trip up Oklahoma’s Amish community – where they serve the family style dinners. If only the Super Bridgy wouldn’t yell in the car the whole way. Someday!

    @MIRUSPEG – I do believe God orders our steps and I definitely believe that He works all things together for our good. You are a blessing, and 2010 doesn’t sound so faraway.

    @ESCAPIST – I have never received a comment from you, and it’s wonderful to see your intriguing photo and read your words. I’m off to check out your profile. I hope you will come back often and share your insights! I appreciate your words very much.

  7. Keith

    “People, including me, always show up at beginnings and endings, but man. Man. We need community during the in-between.” This statement is very profound and honestly touched my heart. It makes me want to examine my life and see if I am living in such a way that I am only there for people at the beginning or the ending.

    Thank you for this post. I know all that you went through was hell ( I have dealt with sewage problems where I live) but I hope it brings some peace knowing that what you have written has touched someone and perhaps even changed someone.

  8. CGHill

    “Why me?” goes back at least as far as Job, and if I remember correctly, things worked out for him in the end.

  9. ♥georgie♥

    what a post jen! I think Lance said it all…

  10. Yogi♪♪♪

    I loved ” He came and sat beside me, and His love for me quietened me.”

    Great insight on this post. I’m at the age where all sorts of bad stuff are happening to my loved ones. It is the inbetween times when God is most needed.

    btw the Amish are very cool. East of Tulsa a ways are a couple of Amish restaurants. They serve food family style to groups. It is very cool to watch the interactions among the family members. They are not stern at all.

  11. Anonymous


    You speak to my heart, dear girl.

    I am so glad, I don’t have to wait for a disaster to call upon God. He is always there– Never changing, always the same: Yesterday, Today (in-between) and Forever.

    You ARE “The COMMUNITY” (neighbor) of which you speak, a Chosen Vessel of God– “Emptied and Poured Out,” ready to share.

    Great Post!

    Thank you dear daughter.

    Hugs– Mom

  12. miruspeg

    In this post Jen you have answered all your questions.
    You have come the full cirle.
    It was a very rocky ride and you experienced every emotion.

    Every thing happens for a reason…you probably don’t want to hear those words, but I believe them to be true.

    Bless you wise lady, you are one in a million. You make such a difference with your yelling, shouting, crying, compassion……

    Peggy xxxxxx

  13. Lance

    I find this a bit strangely odd, that here in a post about sewer backups, I’m moved to near tears.

    The in between. That dash. Everything between birth and death. That’s what really IS life. And this has me thinking about my own mortality, and what really matters in life. And – am I seeing God there with me through it all? Really seeing? Do I fully realize that I’m in that dash right now – the short period of time between birth and death? And I’m never alone. Even when it can feel so alone. Even when it feels like the deck is stacked against me?

    And that leads me to the Amish. (I’m not!). My parents live by several Amish families. And it is a moving experience to see them come from so far away, just to help their fellow Amish build a barn or something like that. For as much as I have trouble with parts of what they do, I really believe they get that sense of “being there” for each other. In that dash of life.

    So, I leave here having read your story of sewer backups. And because of that, I’m thinking so much about what that dash means to me. How am I living it out? And how am I being there for others, during their own dashes of life?

    Jen, I can’t fully thank you for how moving your writing is here today, and what that has meant to me…know that you’re making a difference in someone else’s dash today, as well – in mine…

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