To which the Lord responded, “Stop it. Just stop it. What did you expect?”
Uh-oh—He heard me. I shouldn’t talk like that if I don’t expect Him to pay attention. So I paid the price. We had to sit down and have a little fatherly chat, sort of like Gestalt therapy with God in the “empty chair.” It was brutal. It went something like this:
God said: Okay, tell me again what you’re complaining about and why you think you have the right to complain. I realize that is a two-part question but I think you can handle it.
I said: Oh, Lord, well you know I painted the entire kitchen yesterday, even the trim work, and everything hurts now. You know it’s tough to paint a kitchen, all that cutting around the edges, up and down the ladder a hundred times. I can’t do what I used to do and it’s making me really cranky. I’ve heard about this getting old
shit progression of life—sorry, Lord—and
I didn’t believe it would happen to me. I am fiercely independent. No one can
do any of this work for me. I have to be able to do it myself. Didn’t you make
me this way? What was part two . . . oh, yes. Why do I have a right to
complain? Because it’s me this time. Look who you’re talking to. Yes, I can nod
and say I understand, commiserate with my aging friends, but does that really
mean I have to be included beyond the theoretical concept of aging? I don’t
mind the numbers creeping up, I just don’t want the infirmities that go along
with the bigger numbers.
God said: Donna Lee (I was touched that He called me by my birth name and He actually acknowledges it even though the priest that baptized me wouldn’t accept it because it’s not a saint’s name. . . but I digress.) Donna Lee, I created you mortal and I created the universe and the laws of nature. Nothing living lives forever. Nothing. Some people live many years, full lives; some die before they are born or their lives are cut short prematurely. You don’t think you’re being singled out, do you? Do you think you’re exempt from the laws of nature? What about your husband John—don’t you think he would have appreciated a chance to see your grandchildren? Do you really think I am treating you unfairly? So can you tell me again what you are complaining about?
I said: Well, I am not exactly complaining . . .
God said: It sounded like complaining to me.
I said: But, Lord, I haven’t been that bad, have I? I’ve pretty much done what I have to do and haven’t been nearly as bad as some people—and if anyone knows who the bad ones are, You do—so why can’t I get a pass on this? It’s not fair that my back hurts, it’s not fair that I messed up my knee, it’s not fair that my waist is getting thicker and my hair is getting thinner, it’s not fair that I’m tired . . .
God said (in a voice like thunder rumbling in the distance): Hush, child. Hush. Don’t for one minute forget what I have done for you. Need I remind you about my son Jesus? Need I remind you that I gave you life, that I gave you a mind, children and grandchildren, and that I wrapped you in a beautiful world that sustains you, surrounded by people who love you? Now I don’t want to hear you complain any more about growing old. Consider it a privilege reserved for only a select few. Now go on and live with some gratitude. I hope we won’t have to have this discussion again. You are dismissed.
I said: Okay, Lord. You win. Again. Sorry.