Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27: Backasswards Again, Turning Out, Prayer

"God damn it."  He was sore as hell.  He was really furious.  "You always do everything backasswards."  He looked at me.  "No wonder you're flunking the hell out of here," he said.  "You don't do one damn thing the way you're supposed to.  I mean it.  Not one damn thing."

Stradlater pretty much has Holden pegged here.  Holden doesn't like following rules.  In fact, he goes out of his way to avoid fulfilling people's expectations.  Pencey, the school Holden is currently attending, is simply the latest in a string of schools he's flunked out of.  Holden seems determined to fail at everything.

Recently, things haven't been turning out the way I want or expect them to.  Job, health, writing.  If you've been reading Saint Marty for a while, you know I've been struggling to remain positive.  I have to admit that I naturally gravitate to sarcasm and pessimism.  If I expect the worst all the time, I'm never disappointed.  In fact, when the worst doesn't occur, I'm pleasantly surprised.  For example, I went to the hospital on Friday, thinking I was going to be diagnosed with stomach cancer.  I ended up with appendicitis.  That's a win in my book.

Prayer sort of works that way for me, too.  I always have a long list of things that I pray for.  Some of my prayer intentions have been on my list for a long time (for example, a full-time teaching position at the university).  Other intentions come and go pretty quickly (for example, a good first day of teaching).  Prayer, however, is not always mathematical.  What I mean by this is that answered prayer isn't always what you expect.  Two plus two doesn't always equal four.  Sometimes, two plus two equals appendicitis.

I'm sure you've heard the saying that God doesn't give you what you want; He gives you what you need at the moment.  If God gave everybody what they wanted, the world would be full of Brad Pitts and Mark Zuckerbergs.  Everyone would be movie stars and billionaires.  I know I would be J. K. Rowling.  But that's not the way things work.

As a Christian, I simply have to ask God for help with some problem or situation, and then I have to let God take over.  I have to trust.  Have faith.  That's the hard part.  It almost feels like doing things backasswards, as Stradlater says.  I ask for a full-time job at the school, and I may get a part-time job at Taco Bell.  Backasswards.  In the end, however, it's what God knows I need.

So, when I pray, I've learned to expect a backasswards answer sometimes.  And, usually, that backasswards answer is exactly what I need.

Dear God,

I'm struggling this week.  I'm sore, tired, and more than a little worried about bills, especially medical bills right now.  All I'm asking for this week is peace of mind.  Please give me strength to make it through today.  I know things are going to work out.  I trust in You.  I don't know how things are going to work out, but they will.

Life has been giving me lemons recently.  Please help me make some lemonade.

Your backasswards loving child,

Saint Marty

I love lemonade, as long as it has enough sugar

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