I usually use that expression when something is extremely upsetting or unbelievable. In this case, however, I’m using it as a salutation in a letter. A business letter, in fact, because I’m ready to get down to business. I’ve been on this earth for sixty-one years now, and I have been preached to, told that, prevailed upon and flat out smacked down to believe that everything that happens in this life is God’s will.
So, let me start this letter again.
How’s it hanging? I know you’ve had your hands full lately. There have been hurricanes and fires, wars and mysterious murders. There have been shady elections and strange bedfellows. There have been floods and pestilence, riots and treason. My goodness, you would think that you would have come a bit closer to perfecting the human race by now. Or is that not your goal?
Although I’ve been told that ours is not to question why, is it okay if I ask you a few other questions? Like, for instance, what is your goal? Quite frankly, God, I can’t understand how a loving god can let some of this crap go down?
A few more questions, please? When will Mueller’s investigation be over? Are Daytime Soaps ever going to come to an end? For that matter, is there a reason the three-minute story lines are cast over a period of three weeks? Do you really have to wait thirty minutes after eating before you swim? Did Trump collude?
I digress. My real question is this: What’s the real reason I’m here? Let me tell you a bit about me, although you’re God, so you apparently already know.
As I mentioned, I’m a sixty-one-year-old woman. I grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, with both parents and three older brothers. I’m blessed to still have my mother with me. I was thirty-nine years in the workforce, most of which was spent in the not-for-profit world, working on behalf of those less fortunate than me. I earned a degree in journalism and wielded my skills writing speeches, PR releases, and marketing pieces all at the behest of others, while raising money and consciousness of various causes, mostly geared toward the elderly.
All during this career, I was and remain married to a man, and raised two children. We had a united front in raising our kids. My philosophy had been that of my father’s: to throw them in the pool, and their survival instinct will teach them to swim in their own way. I won’t let them get drowned, because I will be there to support them all the way, but they will learn to make their own way in this world. In other words, we were NOT helicopter parents, yet we did instill a strong sense of morals and values in them. As a result, we raised two relatively well-adjusted, free-thinking adults. Also, as a result, they forged their own paths that have taken them far away from home.
Almost three years ago, I was forced to retire early, as my employers were unwilling to work with me with regard to either telecommuting or keeping me on as a consultant. The drive time to that last job took, without exaggeration, three or four hours round trip, depending on traffic, and I had taken on the responsibility of caring for my mother in my home. I could no longer be away ten to twelve hours every single day.
I use the time at home well, I think, as I have taken to using my writing skills in a way in which I have always dreamed of doing. I have written and published three short novels, all of which contain subtle messaging for women who have dealt with some of the same issues I have. Although the stories are all fictional, the vignettes and the messages are true and strong, and they are all things about which a lot of women find it hard to talk. It has been a release for me, and a lot of fun. I only hope they help someone, any, if only one woman, somewhere.
The problem, God, is that I am a sixty-one-year-old woman with absolutely no idea what I’m supposed to do now. I have no job, my kids are gone, my mom rests most of the time and my books aren’t selling much.
Since we did such a good job parenting and my children are out there doing good deeds and both in professions that help others, we (my husband of 36 years) and I no longer have anything in common. During the time we were concentrating on raising the kids, they were our focus. Everything else about us was at opposite ends of the spectrum. We used to laugh about the fact that opposites attract; about things like the fact that he was a Miami Hurricane and I was a Florida Gator; he liked his meat well-done and I liked mine rare; he was raised as an Orthodox Jew and I, Reformed. But now, it isn’t so funny that he is a Conservative Republican and I’m a Democrat. (notice I didn’t say Liberal, because in fact, I’m closer to center than most). I wonder if I can sue Donald Trump for being the root cause of our divorce?
I’ve lived an honest, righteous life. I’ve never cheated on my taxes. I’ve never been in jail. I’ve looked to the stars for answers. I’ve talked to pictures of my father who left us way too early, at age 69, in 1999, but he didn’t answer back. I spent most of my career doing noble work for little pay. One of my employers used to call it “the Lord’s work.” Don’t take that personally, God. I mean I could have said your work, but that wouldn’t have been a direct quote.
I imagine I could have simplified this whole thing by asking one question. What the hell is your will for me? Sorry, I didn’t mean to use profanity. But really man, what am I supposed to do? I have to confess, although you probably already know this, I’ve been extremely depressed lately. I almost took my will back from you and came to see you earlier than I think you intended. That was last month. I think you were busy with the midterms, or the fires or something.
Yesterday I got a mouthful of sass from my daughter, undeservedly. It made me weepy when it shouldn’t have. I had yet another misunderstanding with my husband because we just can’t seem to communicate well. My physical well-being is teetering. So, I’m feeling kind of like taking charge again. Unless God, of course, you can send me some kind of sign, by return mail, by a text or some kind of sign…
With warmest regards,