I was well into a beautifully researched, cogently argued, exquisitely written article about how difficult it is to survive on the minimum wage.
I had explained persuasively that we should get off the backs of those who receive assistance (SNAP — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps), and try to feed ourselves on $31.50 per week per family member for just one week, not using foods and supplies already on hand.
I laid out a plausible scenario for the necessity of SNAP, and was celebrating my erudition when … my old, wheezing computer went silent (possibly in awe over such brilliance?), froze and sent the entire thing to irrecoverable oblivion.
I sank into the swamp of despair. For me, once on paper (actually, computer since I have indecipherable handwriting), it has exited my mind forever. Frankly, I’m surprised when I see the newspaper. I wrote that? Wow! I wonder when? Pretty darn good (or not, as the case may be).
For solace, I turned on the news and heard about another shooting in Washington, D.C., with multiple dead and wounded. Feeling worse, I picked up the paper and made myself read about the floods in beautiful parts of Colorado and the lives lost there.
I groaned in sympathy and wept in sorrow.
In the meantime, people were checking on me to see if I had recovered after having apparently suffered heat exhaustion the day before. Some saying strongly, “GO GET MEDICAL HELP,” advice I managed to ignore yet one more time, but of course had to justify such foolishness.
In the midst of this, my sister phoned to let me know of her last-minute challenges and frustrations that were causing havoc with a carefully laid-out schedule and to-do list in preparation for an event. Yes, I believe the term “control freak” could possibly have sprung from psychologists studying my sister and me for a while, particularly when preoccupied with intricate plans.
Surfing the Web, desperately looking for a new column idea, I read about food police at certain elite schools. Parents receive a note if their child’s lunch doesn’t measure up to the school standard of what constitutes “healthy.” I loved the comments, as in, “Do you KNOW how much of this healthy food is thrown away every day?”
Finally, I resorted to my favorite time-waster and began reading online advice columns. Almost all of the questions deal with complex relationship issues. The best:
“My SO [significant other] is chronically late, and it irritates me to no end. I have tried talking to him about it from every angle, and his answer is to avoid committing to specific plans with me anymore because he doesn’t want to make me angry by being late.
“We’ve been together two and a half years, so this has been a source of mounting frustration for quite a long time. Any thoughts or suggestions? It’s the main (only) thing we fight about, and I want to focus on fixing it ASAP.”
And there we have it: We want to fix everything so the world functions in conformity to our own needs. We wish never to be inconvenienced or frustrated or saddened or hurt, or to consider that maybe, just perhaps, the world doesn’t spin on its axis around our tiny little self-centered lives.
Most of us don’t go around shooting others, thank goodness. No, we just insist that others eat the way we determine or operate by our own clocks rather than theirs.
We find ourselves appalled when our perfectly formed plans are thwarted by uncooperative weather or someone else’s perfectly formed plans — or worse yet, their unwillingness to plan at all, which is, of course, completely unacceptable in the well-planned world.
Yep, we just all want to be God. Except not a God who lavishes love on the undeserving, but one who is obediently served by all people, nature and life events.
Best of luck! Nothing like a setup for despair and disappointment.
THE REV. CHRISTY THOMAS is the pastor of First United Methodist Church of Krum. She can be reached at 940-482-3482 or firstname.lastname@example.org .