It is Too Much to Bear

I’m in a pretty foul mood today. So is Jennifer.

Jen has asthma. We’ve always controlled her environment well — kept is clean, relatively free of dust, no animals, air conditioning when we can. It’s worked pretty well for the last 20 years, and Jen hasn’t had a serious asthma attack in a long, long time.

When I left Energy Intelligence in 2006, I lost employer-paid health insurance. (I have not had it since then.) The seminary required me to have insurance for myself, but we couldn’t afford anything for Jennifer. So, we found a couple of pharmacies located outside the United States where we could get her long-term asthma meds without a prescription. We had to pay full cost — a single Serevent inhaler would typically cost around $30 — but it was worth it.

And it was something we could do. Until recently.

I’ve been out of work, and utterly unable to find anything, for the last year and a half. (No one will even call me back, much less hire me.) It’s been three years if we count graduation from seminary, though I’ve had a couple of part-time jobs — at a church in northern Illinois, at a pizza place in Chicago — in 2012 and 2013 to help get us through.

My father has helped us financially. As have some friends, and a few very kind strangers.

Well, we have run out of money. We lost our place to live at the beginning of May — a place we had solely because of the kindness of others, as we couldn’t afford it.

So, to get Jen’s asthma meds, we had to find a free clinic here. And we did.

And to get her asthma medicine itself, we had to go to the local St. Vincent de Paul Society’s pharmacy. Which is where we were this morning. Along with the people in line to get fans.

I don’t know what to say about any of this. Everyone was kind and incredibly compassionate, truly. I think we nearly brought the young lady who handled our “intake” to tears, especially after I showed her my book (because she wanted to know what our situation was). I’m angry, but not about how we’ve been treated.

I’m just … I don’t know.

Don’t tell me God loves me. I don’t want to hear it. That’s a curse, not a blessing. This is not trying or testing my faith in God — Jesus grabbed me long ago and simply won’t let go. But it’s because God loves me, because I heeded the damned call to follow, that we are here — unemployed and destitute. Subsisting off the kindness of strangers. We would not be alive without that kindness. But I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of needing it.

As Jennifer said, “How low does God have to drag us?”

So, I’m tired of God. I want God to go away. No, I want to go back those nearly 14 years and have God not speak to me. Because without God in my life, very likely, I would have gone to work doing risk analysis for an investment bank or a commodities trading firm and I’d have all the things I don’t have right now — a car that doesn’t struggling going up hills (or threaten to overheat if it sits too long at a red light), a home of my own, health care I don’t have to beg for, and the ability to care properly for my wife. I might even have something resembling a career.

Because right now, I’d trade Jesus for all that. Really. Where’s Satan, so I can sell my soul for some measure of material comfort and gainful employment? I’m willing. Right now. Hand me a contract, and I will sign it. My soul is doing me no good anyway.

What, no devil? Yeah, I thought not. Not even he cares about my soul.

I really want to lie down and die right now. I see no point to continuing. I see no point at all.

9 thoughts on “It is Too Much to Bear

  1. The devil is stamping his feet and biting his tongue ’cause he knows he can’t have your soul. You were bought with a price too steep for him. He’ll try to enjoy your misery, but it’s just not the same. Maybe God will speak to you out of the whirlwind. You and I live in tornado country, and a pretty good storm front is on the way. Lie down and see what happens. Or doesn’t.

    I’ve been through all that when I had to retire early. When we finally got social security, it just put us over the top of the income limit for the free clinic we had been using the past couple of years. Another three years till we got Medicare.

    Ever see the film “A Serious Man”? The Coen Bros’ take on the book of Job. Sort of.

  2. Yeah, Ch 10 is sorta like those old forlorn songs:

    I’d rather live in some dark holler
    Where the sun don’t never shine,
    Than to see you [Mammon] be another man’s darlin’
    And know that you’ll never be mine.”

    From Ch 40:

    “Will you put even me in the wrong?
    Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?”

    I had a friend in college who came from a family of medical professionals in the suburbs of an East Coast city. When he and his wife were working as lowly instructors, he would drive around and look at the houses of the well-to-do and fume about it. I thought he was pretty well off by the standards I was used to. For a leftist who chose to teach at a black college (until the black power people told him he wasn’t wanted), I thought his energy was misdirected, but never thought of a way of saying so. He may have thought he was just registering indignation at social injustice, but it sure looked more like envy. Later his wife went through medical school and became an OB-GYN, and he trained and got licensed as a couples counselor. I hope he was happy then. He did meet the whirlwind: he had been living in New Orleans for decades when Katrina hit. Last I knew he had relocated and was apparently getting along OK, but he never answered my emails.

    I go to the doctor tomorrow to get the word on whether my heart is failing or not. But I tell myself, “Buck up, old son. Things could be worse, and probably will be. Amen.”

  3. Doctor says I’ll live. Just a bunch of PVCs. A lot. But getting fewer, I think. Drink more water. Take CoQ10. Don’t worry. Be happy.

  4. We do. I don’t travel well, as I’ve said, but you’re (plural) welcome here any time. We only have one single-size [i.e. “twin”] guest bed, but however it could work out, mi casa est su casa.

  5. When I said I don’t travel well, what I meant was that I get very stressed if I try to drive even 20 miles. Not fond of being a passenger either. It comes from weird vertigo and/or random nerve sensations of all sorts, including sensations of motion.

    Allene has never driven on highways, except on those few occasions which couldn’t be helped, often ending in panic. It took her three tries to pass her driving exam in her teens. The first time she was afraid to go faster than 15 mph. The second time she pushed herself to speed up, but lost control of the car, ran up over a curb onto a sidewalk, and forced a pedestrian to leap up onto a stone wall to save his life. On the 3rd try, the tester took pity, but made her stepfather promise to take her out for more practice before letting her go solo. So naturally, 3 blocks away from the license branch, the stepfather has her drop him off at the Moose lodge to get drunk and tells her to drive on home by herself. She was simultaneously proud and terrified. A few near-tragic mishaps confirmed her lack of confidence, and she just let her license lapse. When we had been married for 7 years or so, she really needed to drive to get the kids places. She had to go through therapy to get past her fears. It worked, and she got to be a competent driver, on city streets at least. The complexities of on-ramps and exits and their mysterious signs still terrified her. For most mundane purposes, she was probably a safer driver than I was. The kids felt safer with her. My consciousness of the world around me has a disconcertingly random quality, and I regularly miss turns and have to backtrack. My college friends were convinced I had a guardian angel, so erratic was my style of driving. And yet I was never convicted of a moving violation. (There was one ticket for reckless driving after an accident, but under very adverse circumstances, and the judge through out the charge to preserve my pristine record.) Allene stopped driving a few years ago, except for very rare exceptions. One was yesterday, because I was feeling so lousy. But she stopped and handed over driving duties just before we reached highway 37 (now being incorporated into I-69).

  6. I’m really sorry you’re going through all this! I’m in a slightly similar situation myself, which leads me to inquire: can I ask what website you used for her meds?

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