By Richard Bleil
With this blog, I hope to share my opinion and give the reader something to think about. I do not intend to challenge or insult anybody’s beliefs.
See, I do believe in God. I don’t try to define Her, imbue Her with properties, pretend to understand Her or Her ways. In fact, I refer to God in the feminine because, well, why not? Too often, in our society, we refer to God in the masculine, but I don’t know the gender of God, or if the concept of gender even applies. I don’t refer to God in the feminine because I believe God is female, but it’s just a feeble attempt for me to level the playing field. Referring to God in the feminine really irritates many of my friends, but if God is omniscient, can’t God be whatever gender she wants anyway?
Okay, that odd little sidebar behind us, let me continue with the object of the post. I do pray, but not in the sense that most people probably do. I don’t kneel and bow my head. Instead, I just carry on a conversation with her. I try not to ask for things for myself, but have often asked for others. Yesterday, though, I did ask for me.
I’ve been unemployed for eighteen months, have been without a home for six, lost most of my possessions…in short, things are getting desperate for me. Yesterday, I hit the road on a trip to California for a job interview. I wanted to drive for a few reasons; I’m not afraid to fly, but don’t enjoy it. For about the same amount of money, I could make it a mini-vacation. So, yes, I spoke with God. I thanked her for what I do have (not least of which are my friends), and the opportunity, and asked for help in getting the job.
Then a pothole took my car out of commission.
Six hundred miles from where I am currently living, and six hundred miles from my interview, I found myself trapped on the side of the road. Thankfully, I had the money and foresight to reinstate my AAA membership, so I didn’t have to pay for the tow, but, what a shock. To ask God for help, and have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere, for an interview that for multiple reasons I doubt will be able to happen at all now.
The first response is disappointment. The “Why Me?” response. It also raises questions for those who believe in God and ask for help at times like this. But, let’s look at this in a couple of ways.
If, like me, you believe in God and have faith, then it’s important to accept what happens. This is where faith comes in. Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, some other faith or just a lone believer as I am, then if you truly believe that God helps us, then you have to accept that things happen for a reason. There are a lot of “Peter Pan” sayings that refer to this, like “sometimes the answer is ‘no’.” If there is a God, that doesn’t even mean that such a God truly does help with human affairs. After all, it’s also possible that God observes but does not interfere which would be consistent with “God helps those who help themselves.” But if you believe God helps, then you should believe that there is a reason for everything that happens. Maybe I would have died in a horrific car crash later down the road. Maybe God does not want me at that job.
Some time ago, a nun I met on a campus where I worked was asking me about my family. I explained that I had no wife, or kids. “Well, maybe God wants you to be single!” “Yeah, I don’t like God, either,” was my snarky reply. A few years later I was married.
Okay, God, I learned my lesson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you do not believe in God, it seems to me that you have to be stronger. “Why me?” takes on a new meaning if one does not have faith. I feel I can speak on this, because I’m not sure how much God helps us out, if at all. I do feel that God might help give me a “nudge” every once in a while, but as I said earlier, I don’t know how God works, so maybe She does nothing for me but listen.
If this is the case, as it well may be, then difficult times becomes a test of who I am as a person. Do I have the personal fortitude to admit when I need help, and more than that, to accept it when it is offered? Do I have the intelligence to find alternatives if they are available? Can I maintain my humor in difficult times?
It’s not easy. Regardless of your beliefs, it’s still a test. And not just a one-time test. Sometimes I fail this test, but often, I pass. With my friends, I will pass this test.