Sometimes I think these things happen to put the rest of life in perspective. I know I sound like a total whiney stress case as I lament the various frustrations of my life lately. I'm a venter. And maybe a blog is not the most appropriate place to vent. In real life, as opposed to cyber life, I think honesty and vulnerability is conducive to building better relationships. That's easy for me because I have to restrain myself to not be too open; my weakness, besides frequent TMI, is often not knowing how to ask other people questions that help them feel more comfortable sharing. No one has to ask me anything, I just blah blah blah. But again, is that appropriate for online? Some of you have said it helps you know me better. I'm all good with that- but consider that it is a rather one-sided relationship! Nah, I don't mind, but I am always glad to hear a lurker "'fess up." And anyway, I just tell myself that this kind of online openness has the potential to really comfort someone else who feels weary with the hardships in their own life and is not sure they aren't the craziest person in the world for feeling how they do. Although, isn't that just the worst when someone you don't want to be like is like "you're just like me!" So everyone is reading along and "Oh crap! I don't want to be like Abby!" Don't worry, I have super awesome friends with real feelings too, just think of yourself like them. So it could be comforting, but it also has potential to disgust people. I know it can be so disgusting when someone acts like their own problems are just the worst thing ever. You just want to scream at them to look around and see the rest of the world.
My world is small. It is growing though. I remember how poor I thought I was when George made 45K at his job in Birmingham! Of course, it was less coming in than our friends without children who had the incomes of two people working full time. But it was so silly to complain about that when there are people in our country working for minimum wage. That's $6.55 an hour, y'all! At forty hours a week, 52 weeks a year, that is an annual income of $13,624. I have heard people say, "this is America, anyone can get a job!" And when you challenge them, they clarify that they just mean anyone can get a job at a place like McDonald's. Just for the humor, I will remind everyone that George couldn't get a job at McDonald's. But even if "anyone" could get a job there, the starting wage, according to my brief internet search, is somewhere between $6.65 and $7.20 an hour. So optimistically, you're still coming home with just $14,976 for a year of hard work over hot fryers and grills. So, I wish I had done that math before I whined about our 65 hours a week at $10 an hour. But no need for the math when you have mice. How much easier is it to be grateful for work and the money you do have when you realize that you have been blessed with no mice! I am not sure that makes any sense, but I just feel I got a glimpse of how bad it could be. Not that it couldn't be so much worse than mice. Rebekah had a snake! Annie had rats at one point?
In Auburn one year, there were nine of us girls living in this charming old house at the corner of Gay Street and Opelika Road. I was so excited that I found a picture for you on Google Maps, but every time I try the link, it just takes me to the satellite map of America. Boo. I can actually "walk" down the street, and all the way to class (seriously!) with my mouse (no, not that kind of mouse)! Google Maps is awesome! I am sad that Auburn has changed so much though. Walking down College Street was kind of strange. I barely recognized it. And what is up with the campus? It is all different. I actually emailed a librarian at Ralph Draughon to ask her what the deal was with the street changes. The street that runs between the library and the Quad is called Mell St. now. Huh? I can't remember what it used to be called, but not Mell St. Anyway, this has nothing to do with what I was saying. What I was saying was that we used to live in this great little old house. I was, as you might could guess, the night owl of the group and almost always up late. Usually I was out or up with at least one other person at home. But these were the days of what George's roommates dubbed "the Abby phone," so sometimes I would be up alone on the phone with George- which was dumb because he lived less than a mile away. Anyway, one night I may have actually been studying or else just off the phone with George when I heard a noise in the kitchen. I was a little spooked because there was no light on in the kitchen and everyone in the house was sound asleep. I cautiously and quietly stepped down the hallway and peeked around the kitchen doorway, and screamed bloody murder and woke up the whole house! It was a rat, y'all, a huge stinkin' rat the size of a rabbit! It was on our kitchen table eating cookies! We got a cat the next day. The end. Not of the post, just of the story.
So, a little bit of a tangent within the post, and then a tangent within a tangent, but I wanted to share my rat story. And I do realize that it could be far worse than rats or snakes or any other type of pest. For one thing, we are all healthy. I have talked to at least three friends this week with sick children. And even those children will get over their yicky flus. Okay, but so this also isn't like me. Of course it is totally miserable when all your kids are sick! Of course it can be stressful for a family of four to live on $45K in our society. And of course it is better than children with leukemia or making $20K, but it is still rough. I certainly don't want to be ambushingly preachy. No way! I am just sharing. I just felt like I needed some personal perspective. The Psalms are full of David's laments. Seeking comfort or encouragement from friends or from the Lord (hey, what about deliverance?!) is completely appropriate. But as we wait on his deliverance, as we receive the tender encouragements and comforts from loving friends, we can also be helped by a little perspective. I will say that I do not know how helpful it is to try to dump perspective on a hurting person. If I am living it up with my well children and my girlfriend is at the end of her rope over her three children with a stomach bug, it isn't very kind or compassionate to remind her that her children don't have a fatal disease. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15) Incidentally, another thing that is not helpful is comparing- "Oh, your have three kids who have the stomach bug? Well, my kid has a mosquito bite!" So annoying! But more than that, it clearly indicates that I don't understand as I am saying I do, and makes this person who needs understanding now extremely misunderstood and frustrated because I am pretending to understand but really just minimized her widespread household sickness by likening it to a mosquito bite.
This post is so weird and random. Sorry. All I really wanted to share was that, if we can reasonably look back at these things and guess, it would seem that God, with gentle providence, sent me mice to remind me that he is still withholding many very bad things. It doesn't mean that my sad feelings or frustrated feelings were/are illegitimate or even sinful. I think it just served as a reminder for me to take heart, that God is faithful and gracious even when things seem really super crappy. But then, if I had said just that, you wouldn't have gotten the rat story or the fun examples of jerky things you shouldn't say to your friends. The end. This time of the post.