"If you wanna make God laugh, tell him your plans," our RCIA instructor joked. I wonder if God got a hearty laugh from my belief that today I would be married for three years with at least one healthy child. I'm sure it's hilarious to Him that I'm not. That'll show me. Right?
Somewhere along the way, it happened: The God who never gave up on me before, the God who guided me back to Him even when I strayed, stopped loving me. In all sincerity, I believe that. In all sincerity I believe that God exists, that God is in charge, and that God loves everyone. . . Except for me.
If Job was God's favorite, I think I must be God's least favorite. Perhaps the correlation isn't obvious. Job was stripped of everything he held dear, and of his wordly possessions. I, on the other hand, have a comfortable life filled with loving family and friends. What could I possibly have to complain about? I know, trust me, I know that I have a lot to be grateful for, and I am. Today as I attended the Rite of Election service for the churches of our county, I watched as hundreds of people waited to become the Church Elect; soon they will become fully initiated Catholics. I watched as people from outlying farming towns were greeted by the Bishop. Here were these people, who report to work as early as 4 in the morning and work for hours on end in the heat or the cold, laboring just to put food on the table, and I wondered how I dare think I am unloved when I'm been so fortunate.
The joy I used to get from my home, from my dogs, from my work, even from friends and family, is gone. I wonder why God has given me all of this, and stripped me of my capacity to enjoy it; or at the very least, He's abandoned me in my attempts to restore that capacity. I'm faking happiness most of the time now. I dutifully report to Mass but the homily and the hymns feel meaningless anymore. I used to feel God's love. Even in Gabriel's brief life and death, I felt God's love. I know what love feels like. I feel it from my parents. I feel it from my dogs. I feel it from my friends. God's love, though, is distinctly missing. It MUST be missing, because it's supposed to be the greatest love of all and we should feel that, right?
But I don't.
I don't know how to love a God that doesn't love me. I'll play His game. I don't care to see Him, but I long to see my son again and I know that God determines whether or not I do. For anyone that thinks I don't realize that I'm tempting fate, they couldn't be farther off. I think about hell more than anyone I know. I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell more than anyone I know. My friends are shocked. "You worry about hell?" they ask incredulously. I know full well that as a practicing, informed Catholic I'm held to a higher standard before God. I feel like a fool, constantly trying to earn His favor, but I MUST see my son again. I know that someday I will have to stand before God and face judgment and right now, the only thing I want to say to Him is, "Can You put me through now?"
"Pray," seems to be the constant advisal. I don't want to pray. I don't have it in me to pray. I have no desire to talk to a God who doesn't love me. What could I possibly say to Him to convince Him to love me again? I'm flailing here, and I turned to Him with my grief and my pain, and I trusted His way until it just became to much to bear. Arguably, my problem might be that I've got in my mind how I want to be soothed, and that's keeping me from feeling the relief God provides. I remember distincly, though, desparate prayes to God, begging Him to grant me my heart's desire if it is His will, or to take that desire from me so I can go on. I'm still waiting for an answer.
Inevitably, I'll get responses like "God DOES love you, even if you don't believe it. God DOES love you, even if you don't feel it." I wish I could be like my dad, who just believes without question. Blessed are they who believe without seeing, and all that. My faith is hanging by a barely-there thread, and if I don't feel some relief soon I'm afraid it will break.