Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why. (?)

I have this very hazy memory from my distant childhood of this short-term playmate who used to ask "What for?" after everything. I don't remember if we lived in New Jersey or Massachusetts or even Honduras when I knew her. I don't remember her name. To me, her name was always "The What-For Girl."

Conversely, I have few memories of asking "why" very often myself. Until I turned about 22, that is. Ever since then, it seems like I've wanted to know the "why" of everything, which is unfortunate, because you just can't. Often, I am not very pleased with the fact that you can't, and I have been known to describe myself by saying, "I fight with God a lot."

It's never been a question of disbelieving in God. I can't do it. I tried once. Maybe if he'd stop making Himself known every time I'm "this close" to giving up I could do it, but He just keeps showing up and in the process I feel assured that 1) He is there, 2) He loves me, 3) I have no clue what He intends for me. The part I have a hard time with is the last part, and the trusting that His ideas for my life actually are better than mine. So . . . I hurtle "whys" across the universe and try futilely to wrestle with the God of it.

Until now.

I know. You don't believe me. Especially after yesterday's post. But the thing about my anger yesterday is that when it came down to it, I wasn't asking why in the great cosmic, universal sense, but more in a confined, causal sense. And when I really dissected my anger, I realised I wasn't truly angry at God. I almost felt like I was angry at the doctors and the writers who were telling me these things when I didn't truly have any (or much) control over the situation in the first place and I already know the world is broken.

A few weeks ago my car temporarily tanked, and I thought I was going to have to get a whole new one. I got really furious at God and wondered why He allows me to struggle so much. The next day I found out the car was okay (well, it was going to cost a lot less to make it okay, anyway), and the day after that I found out I had cancer, and although I cried at the news, I had no sense of fist-shaking at the heavens at all.

I still can't figure it out. I don't think I've instantaneously grown up within the course of that one day. I don't think I've even fully given up asking why or getting mad at God about things, because there have been a few more minor things in the midst of all this that I've taken Him to task for. But somehow I don't feel like I need to demand the reason for this one.

Maybe it's because I feel like there is a reason, even though I'm not clear what it is. It's not like I feel, exactly, that God Himself reached down and gave me cancer, just like I know He didn't reach down and kill His own Son Jesus. It feels more like, as with the crucifixion, God knew this was going to happen and already had something good and big up His sleeve to do with this.

Obviously I don't think it's going to be anything like "saving the world" or that. Only Jesus has that down. And I'm not even fully convinced that I will ever see the end result of what my having cancer will bring. I just have this weird sort of bedrock sense that, as Julian of Norwich said, "All will be well and all will be well and all manner of thing will be well."

I suppose that, since I'm such a "What-For" kind of girl these days, and since I've just asserted that I have no desire to rage the "whys" about this situation, tomorrow I will be vastly upset and start asking why all the time. It could happen. I'm just saying that so far? It hasn't. And that, my friends, might be a small miracle in itself.

3 comments:

Scott R. Davis said...

very good post Jenn in your figuring out how to deal with this mystery that God has given you. Just stay faithful to Him as you are guided in life. May Miracles show up for the doctors to see Jesus in you, the Hope of Glory.

scott

Annelise said...

I actually think it was healthy that you got angry, and I think this post was healthy too! I said to Dad that we never expected you'd have to go through this--and we sure don't know the whys. At the same time, we too believe that there's something big and important in this crisis, and we're thankful God knows what it is, even though we don't.

Jenn said...

Scott--Thanks. I hope they do.

Mom--I wasn't feeling bad about feeling angry; I figured it would happen at some point (although I didn't think forcing it would help anything), but I was feeling surprised that I still haven't gotten angry at God.

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