Saturday, March 31, 2012

Looking forward to my refill.

I am a born skeptic. I've told this story before here, but I'll tell it again because it will help me get where I'm going. I don't actually remember this happening, but my parents tell me that at a very young age, I heard a rumor that Santa Claus, who I dearly, dearly loved and appreciated, was not an actual, living person.  When I confronted them, my parents (being the new-agey hippies that they were) told me the truth. I was mortified, I imagine. Probably damn near inconsolable. But the telling part is this: I started asking about my other invisible, gift-depositing friends. What about the Tooth Fairy?, I asked. The Easter Bunny? The Little New Year? (Which I'm pretty sure is just another generous imp my mom made up anyway. I could probably google that and find out for sure, but these days, who has the time?) My parents—bless their hearts—told me the truth.

And then I asked, So, what about Jesus?

It has never been easy for me to believe things. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I'm not an optimist, even though I really, really have always wanted to be one. But I'm just not. I describe myself as a "glass half empty type of gal". I've just never been sure that everything is going to turn out OK.  And the older I get, the more I realize that ...  I'm right.

A friend of ours died last week. A really cool lady. She was young. She had two little babies and a husband freshly barred in the state of California. She got throat cancer at a freaky young age for no reason. And despite all of the traditional and experimental treatments, the fasts, and the prayers, she still died. And it's not OK.

It's not OK because all this woman's friends and her young little family are going to feel the pain of this loss as long as they live. It probably won't maintain it's intensity and they will definitely be able to find joy and happiness in the people and things that are still around. But there's no getting around the fact that losing this lady from the planet is nothing short of a tragedy. It just sucks.

While Rob and I were discussing this and just how awful the world can be, I reiterated the fact that I'm a pessimist and this is why. He agreed with my self-diagnosis, but he amended it a bit:

"You are a glass half-empty type of gal," he said. "But you're always looking forward to the waiter coming around and filling your glass back up."

I belong to a culture of knowers. Where I come from, people know the things they know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I do not think I'm a knower. I wish I could be, but it's just not reasonable to expect that from my brain. I'm too prone to making mistakes. For example, today I went to work, really knowing that I was on the schedule. And here I am now, blogging in the middle of my shift. You do the math. So, no, I'm not a knower. But I sure am a hoper. And a lot of the time, the things I hope for actually turn out to be right.

So, I hope—I believe—that I'll be able to see Carla again. I hope I'll be able to see her, with all her hair and fingernails, reunited with her husband and babies. I hope I'll be able to tell her I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend, and I'm sorry I left her baby shower early that one time because I had to go work. I was on the schedule that day.


Victoria Blanchard said...

That's beautiful. I appreciate your honesty, and your willingness to keep hoping, even though it's hard not to know. I do know that most of the things I believe are true, but many of my most dearly loved ones do not, and they have given up trying, at least for the time being. It is very sad for me.

Jen said...

Some things I know. Most of the time, I'm just hoping too. I figure that's ok, since nobody ever talks about "faith, KNOWLEDGE, and charity," right? Hope is important too. I love this and I love you and I'm so sorry about your friend.

Gretta Whalen said...

@Vickie and Jen: Thank you, ladies. I'll never stop hoping or behaving as if I knew. And I'm glad you guys are knowers. I think some lucky people get to be knowers and the rest of us get to be hopers. But hoping ain't so bad.

Alan said...

This is beautiful. Too often the "shorthand" language used to describe faith is easily parroted without requiring a careful assembly of thought. Thank you for sharing.

Gretta Whalen said...

@Alan Thanks, friend. "Shorthand" is a good work for it. But maybe I think too hard about what words mean.

Zen Mama said...

I read this at the right time. Thanks. Piggybacking on Carla's death I've got some friends who might loose their daughter. Everyone is fasting and praying and posting "I believe in miracles" and while I don't not believe in miracles, I can't repost that same status to my own page in solidarity for my friend. Not right now, anyway. I'll keep praying, but ... I guess I need a refill, too.

Bronnie said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Your post was written beautifully though.

I think I have a similar outlook to you. It is good to know though, that a refill will come. No one is left without for too long.