It’s rather annoying how one never really learns important lessons when everything is going peachy, lovely, fine. It’s not until life starts to suck that you have to fall from cloud nine (not a Katy Perry reference no matter how similar the phrasing may be) and learn how this existence thing really works.
Book The First: Getting Punched in the Face by Life
Suffice to say, I came down from cloud nine, ten, and eleven this month. Don’t believe me? Let me list ten injustices recently committed against me by the universe.
1) Got locked out of my house during record heat. My neighbor was not helpful. The locksmith charged me $300 to spend 29.6 seconds opening a simple lock. He did not tell me the price until afterwards. Shame on him. *Hissing noises*
2) That nasty derecho knocked out my power for five days the day after I went crazy at my local organic market buying fresh produce that will not last a week in a warm refrigerator. I was stuck at my parents’ home with an overnight bag.
3) I got pulled over by the po-po for having a break light out.
4) On the way to the mechanic to get my break light fixed, my power steering just kerplunk DIED. Had to get the car towed.
5) My mom let me borrow her Mercedes while my swag wagon (that’s station wagon for all you old people) was in the shop. While driving the afformentioned Mercedes, I rear ended an Escalade.
6) After driving the front-end- flawless- no-more Mercedes home, I parked in front my house and tearfully mourned my life and all its woes.
7) Then the radiator blew up. I jumped from the car in fear (one of my biggest phobias is having a car explode while being occupied by my person). My unhelpful neighbor opened her door, contemplated my smoke- billowing car and tear stained face…..then she shut the door. So unhelpful. Had to get the car towed.
8) I was stuck at my parents’ house for five days with just an overnight bag. Ever since I, the person who filled the fridge with food from the grocery store, moved out, they don’t have food. Ever. I don’t know what they eat.
9) I finally got my car back, and out of the blue, my key isn’t working. I have to alligator wrestle it to make the car start. I drive one of those European cars that is designed to pierce the soul with unbearable invoices whenever anything goes wrong. The key will be at least $200.
10) The world ended. No not really, but it kind of felt that way. Also, I’ll add in the fact that I have had blogger’s block for the last month.
So, the moral of that story is that I was in a really really really really good place for learning important lessons. However, when I woke up early this morning to call the tow truck to take the radiator-less, front-end-flawless-no-longer-Mercedes and my achy-necked, stress-acne-faced self to the mechanic, I didn’t feel like look for a silver lining or lesson or anything. I just wanted to go back to bed.
Book the Second: God Gets All Sneaky and Teaches Me A Lesson When I’m Not Looking
I sat down to read my Bible and eat breakfast. I’m reading through 1 Kings right now, and I read the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this story, but it’s rather amusing (as you may know, I have no trouble seeing humor in the Old Testament). To summarize:
Ahab is a super wicked king of Israel. He’s married to Jezebel, the woman whose name got turned into a definition for evil female. They worship a fake god called Baal. Elijah is a prophet of the God of the Bible. He got on Ahab’s bad side when he told him there would be a drought in the land because of his wickedness. In Chapter 18 , God tells Elijah to go talk to Ahab (the man who wants to kill him) and challenge him to a sacrifice-off (side note: I’m still waiting for the Epic Rap Battles of History version of this). Lil’ Ahab agrees, and uses his best Ron Burgandy voice to assemble the hundreds of Baal prophets chililn in Israel at Mt. Carmel.
There, Elijah offers an epic challenge. The prophets of Baal will build an alter and stick a bull on it, and Elijah will build an alter and stick a bull on it. Then each will call to their God. The first god who answers by consuming the alter with fire, wins. Elijah let’s Team Baal go first. The following passage, straight from The Good Book, is one of the best taunt scenes ever recorded in a holy book.
“Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response;no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 25-29)
Elijah steps on the dance floor. He has his helpers pour water all over his alter until is completely soaked. Then he turns to the heavens, calls on God, and BOOM. Fire consumes the alter, leaving nothing behind.
Ahab, Baal, and Team Baal: 0 God: 1
Book the Third: In Which I Finally Explain Why This Passage is Relevant to My Story
After such a delicious win for Team Real God, you’d think Elijah would be sitting pretty, feeling pretty good, sitting on top of the world, and just peachy keen and fine all around. Not so. He’s Lil’ Ahab & J’bell’s “Undesirable No. 1.” He wanders into the desert for a whole day, afraid, tired, and alone. Finally, he comes to a shrubby little tree, plops down, and says “I have had enough, LORD….Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors ” (1 King 19:4-5). Then he lays down to sleep. You can just feel his disappointment and frustration. God was the one who told him to go challenge Ahab, so why does he now find himself in the middle of the f*****g desert being hunted by a powerful king. He did everything he was supposed to, and now he’s tired and just wants to die.
I can sympathize with my man Elijah here. And I’m not hated or hunted. Life can get so overwhelming, and I just want to go to sleep and never have to wake up. It’s an exhaustion that permeates body, mind, and soul. So, what happened to Elijah? Did God give him what he wanted… or maybe punish him for questioning God’s plan? Nope.
“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” (1 Kings 19:5-9)
Oh, and the first person to locate my hidden Harry Potter reference earns 5 Awesome Points. Have a miserable Potter-less life? That’s ok, make a comment about Kuzko, and I’ll give you 10 Awesome Points. Don’t know anything about either? Then seek help.