Spoiler alert: I’m in a bad goddamed mood.
As a teacher, I reveived a lot of presents at the end of the year. Handpainted mugs. Plants. Gift cards (unfortunately none from a liquor store, as I had hoped.) At the end of the last school year, I had been notified that due to budget cuts, I would not be returning in the fall. So my end of the year gifts included some other things, as well. Platitudes.
People do two things when a co-worker is layed off. They give those looks (head tilted, pained smile, squinted eyes…don’t pretend you haven’t given that look to someone going through a divorce.) The looks are then followed by a slow nod and “kind words.” And if you happen to be let go from a Catholic school, those kind words usually come with a reference to God.
At first, the expressions of faith I received were graciously accepted. During that first few weeks, emotions were high and it was still possible to be full of hope. I entered summer break with some degree of positivity, with the kind words of my friends and co-workers still lifting my spirits. I began my own prayers to God with a gentle, “Dear Lord….”
But now it’s July. School starts in three weeks. I’ve been through interviews, all of which were fruitless. “You haven’t enough experience.” “I’m sorry, you have too much experience.” And those were the folks who were nice enough to call – mostly people just threw my resume in the trash after I walked out the door. At this point in the game, my prayers are no longer sweet, honeyed requests to an almighty benefactor. I’m pissed. And I’m screaming, “Hey. What the hell?!”
The sweet words of kindness I was gifted in May went something like this two months ago, and my response to them is now as follows:
1. “Let go and let God.” Let God do what, exactly? Drive me into depression and bankruptcy? If Jesus is taking the wheel, as Carrie Underwood suggests, he’s a lousy driver and has gotten us lost on some back road detour, leaving us hours away from where we should be. Get the hell out my car.
2. “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” Yeah. A 14th story window with no ladder. And then he sets the building on fire. And he’s laughing his ass off out in the hallway, holding the door closed, while I die of smoke inhalation. No. When God closes a door, call the police and have him charged with criminal confinement.
3. “God has a plan for you, something better!” Yes. Well. He apparantly hasn’t informed any school administrators of said plan. And what exactly was God’s plan for babies who have died at the hands of child abusers? People who are tortured and raped and sold into slavery? If there is truly a mystical force filling up a supernatural Dayplanner, the implementor of these “better plans” is sleeping on the job.
I don’t know whether to admire those people who have boundless faith, or to smack them into reality. Perhaps their faith has given them some kind of internal strength, or perhaps it’s just a set of blinders to pain and suffering. Obviously, to say my own faith has wavered is an understatement.
If there is truly a God, and he is the creator of souls and knows us each personally, then he knows I am a good teacher and deserve a job. He also knows I am freaking the hell out. So what’s the hold up? A benevolent God wouldn’t want me to have panic attacks, sink into sadness and worry, or lose my temper and my faith.
If I were to believe that God isn’t an external force, but an internal force of love and compassion within humans (which has very often seemed more resasonable to me), then it is surely humankind with which I have lost my faith. If humans control the fate of other humans, which seems to be the case after admittedly watching too much Discovery ID, then it’s truly a crapshoot whether we live happily or die miserably.
So which is it? Is there a God, or are we on our own? If there is a God, where the hell is he? Does he take requests? If so, here’s mine. “HELP ME FIND A JOB.” Actually, I’m no longer just requesting it. I’m screaming it.