Sunday, March 9, 2014

Me Suffering Like Job

I'm going to tell you my true experiences in church today. The preacher talked about Job, the character in the Bible whose life went completely to hell. In a hand-basket, as Grandpa always said. Thanks to ha-Satan, the Hebrew word for adversary.

First, let me brag about it right up front, I used to be a go-getter. Hitchhiking across the country, roughing it, eating very skinny meadowlarks, sleeping under bridges, in culverts, and even in the men's room of a very busy truck stop, the whole bit. I rode trains, I was down and dirty, with enough dirt on me that anyone seeing me had to think I was a desperado. I wasn't, but they would've thought so.

Now, though, in recent years, as an aging man -- over 60 -- I'm not so rough. Part of me looks back on all of it like it was some other guy's life. I don't know, I could probably make it if I had to. I've always been resourceful. But with my aches and pains, and apparent need for sleep and regularity, give me the predictable life. A good deadbolt. Meals I can count on. And a lack of suffering.

I know someday they'll find me, dead, of old age and/or iron poor blood and lethargy. But at least I'll be under a decent number of blankets, in long johns, with socks, and securely locked in in comfort. It could happen a different way, but I'll try to not let it.

The preacher's message on Job, though, gave me momentarily the sensation that anything was possible. Job suffered all the stuff he suffered and didn't curse God. An alternate way of looking at that phrase, in my opinion, would be: He didn't doubt his own place in life, in the scheme of things. Complete despair wasn't an option.

OK, I started thinking of myself. Say my little bit of savings was taken away, the place I live crashed in, everything in my freezer thawed out, the city took my half acre, and I was suddenly drifting about, maybe despised and shunned, would I keep a good attitude? I was thinking, Yes, I would. But that was this morning, when I was still wide awake. I even saw it as something like a liberating idea. When you have a ton of fear, if everything's snatched away, there'd be less to fear. You'd be free!

But now, as it becomes evening, the day has dragged by. And I'm tired. Hanging out in my easy chair, trying to read, but getting very sleepy. Now I'm not so sure I'd like to be scraping my boils with a potsherd, whatever good that'd do. Do boils itch? Or is scraping just a good way to drain them? I'd have to figure that out. Now I'm not so sure there'd be a lot of positives to being on the road, at the edges, the extremes.

I want to keep the meaning of life, of course, come what may. Only, please, let the meaning of life have something to do with my own comfortable bed, a working furnace, and a well-stocked refrigerator.

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