Praying in the storm.

I’m trying to be calm. I’m trying to be accepting. I’m trying to not fight what is happening.

I know that all things work for good, for those that believe in God. This doesn’t mean that it is awesome all the time. Sometimes it is pretty awful. Jesus didn’t have it that great – beaten, flogged, crucified, abandoned by his friends- not a day in the park, there. But it had to happen. It had to happen that way.

I know that the more we fight what is, the harder things get. I know that the more we have to define things as “good” or “bad”, the harder it gets. I’ve learned that anger and grief are both just symptoms of not accepting the situation as it is.

It is easy to think such calm thoughts when you aren’t in the middle of the storm.

I’ve had a pretty stormy time the past week. I just had to spend $1700 on my car on unscheduled repairs. Yes, I’m grateful to have a car that works. I’m grateful that I have that amount in savings. I’m grateful that they were able to take 20% off, saving me $350. I’m grateful that they were able to provide me with a loaner car while it was being fixed. But I was trying to save up some money. I don’t like running things close to the edge financially. My parents did that. They were great teachers for what not to do.

Then I got stung by a yellow jacket. They’ve built a nest near my front steps, and spraying them has seemingly created even more of them. There is no easy way around them, so they have to be dealt with. I’ve called the professionals. This will cost $200.

Then my back went out. I exercise daily, so I thought I was basically guarding against such problems. Maybe I was just delaying the inevitable. Turns out I have a slipped disc. Turns out this is even more money for the doctor and for the x-ray. The money I saved on the discount for the car is going to be quickly used up.

I’m trying to be like Jonah. I’m trying to praise God in the belly of the whale. It is really hard. But I want to, and that has to count for something.

I think when Jesus was here, he came to understand how hard it is to be human. He came to understand that we are distracted a lot by pain and loss. It is hard to be grateful when you are miserable. But I think that is the secret. I think that we have to look around and see what we do have, instead of what we don’t have.

It is really hard.

Sometimes it is easier to be thankful for what isn’t – I’m not incapacitated. I’m not out even more money.

But this isn’t really a healthy path.

So I try again. I’ve got a husband who loves me and looks out for me. I’ve got a house that is cozy and comforting. I’ve found a new doctor who is kind and was able to help. I’ve got a doctor’s note so I can take the weekend off to heal some more.

And pain, strangely enough, is a reminder to pray, and that is always good.

“Do no harm.” On televisions and junk food in doctor’s offices.

Must there be a television in every doctor’s office? Must it be on Jerry Springer or Fox News? Must it be so loud?

Most people who come into a doctor’s office are sick, right? They already don’t feel well. So high energy, high hostility television only makes things worse. The commercials are not only not a respite, they are even louder, even more insistent, even more unsettling than the show itself.

I feel tense when I watch TV. It is like drinking a Doctor Pepper and eating two chocolate bars in ten minutes. I feel all hyped up, unsettled, anxious. It took me a long time to realize that this isn’t a normal way to feel, and that television was a big cause of my unease. It took me a long time to wean myself from the addiction that is TV. I’ve not watched broadcast television for five years. I use the television, sure, to watch movies on DVD. But I don’t watch anything live. And I certainly don’t watch anything where people are yelling at each other.

So going into a place that is supposed to make me feel better and being confronted by something that makes me feel worse feels like an assault.

I understand how people like TV. It is numbing. It is distracting. It takes their minds off their pain. Plus, many people are afraid of silence. They don’t know how to be with themselves. They don’t know how to entertain themselves. So the TV in the doctor’s office makes sense, in a strange sort of way. But while it is soothing to them, it is really disturbing to me, and there really is no middle ground.

I think I’m going to call around for a new doctor and ask if their waiting room has a TV. If not, I’ve found my new doctor.

I wrote this while waiting to get an X-ray for a slipped disc. I wasn’t in the chiropractor’s office, but a separate one. It wasn’t far. Because they do radiology all the time, their prices were cheaper, so he sent me there. I noticed that they had complimentary snacks for while you were waiting. Soda. Chips. Nothing healthy. Even their water was fake. Why not have fruit and nuts? Why not have spring water and fruit juices? Why would you offer people things that are harmful to them?

Perhaps it is because that is what people want.

Doctors need to give you what you need, not what you want. We want quick relief but we don’t want to know how to take care of ourselves. We want to keep on eating badly and smoking and not exercising. And we want to be well. We can’t have it all.

Doctors don’t work around this. Either they don’t know to, they don’t know how to, or they don’t care. Maybe they are frustrated, only treating the symptom and not the cause. Maybe they are stuck thinking the usual way is the only way.

I’m saying that a doctor that gives you bad things isn’t really a doctor. A doctor who treats only the symptom and not the cause isn’t really following the pledge of “Do no harm.”