Friday, April 22, 2011

The Day I Fired God

God and I have issues. It all came to a head yesterday morning when I leisurely double-checked my 1 PM lunch appointment only to discover it was for 12 noon. I had to leave now, right now. Now as in NOW!


It was all God’s fault, of course. Was it too much trouble on His part to actually equip me with a brain that worked? Or at least a non-working brain that came with technical support? Ever try getting through to God? I’ve been on hold all my life. Never mind. Just grab my wallet and I’m outta here. Wallet? Wallet!

One minute ... no wallet. Two minutes ... no wallet.

Now I was really mad at God.

Three minutes, four minutes ...

I’m late! Or rather late for being a half-hour early. I had to give myself time for getting lost, stuck in traffic, or a comet randomly landing on my head. And the way things were going with my day, there was clearly a high probability of things falling out of the sky, totally exclusive to me.

There’s a passage in Homer’s Iliad that best describes how I was feeling. This is when the Greek’s mighty warrior, Achilles, discovers that the god Apollo has played a trick on him (sort of equivalent to hiding my wallet on me). As Homer describes it: “Achilles of the nimble feet was furious.”

“You have made a fool of me!” Achilles lashes out at Apollo. To add a bit of context to the conversation, our mere mortal only minutes before had had a run-in with the river god Xanthus, who “towered up and rushed upon Achilles with an angry surge, seething with foam and blood and corpses.”

First the river god, and now Apollo. “Much as I should like to pay you out,” Achilles rages at the son of Zeus, “if I only had the power.”

Being a mere mortal totally sucks.

At least Achilles got to vent his anger on Troy’s best warrior, Hector, whom he confronted “looking like the god of War, in his flashing helmet, girt for battle,” brandishing “the formidable ashen spear of Pelion.”

Me, I had the option of punching the crap out of my throw pillow-laden love seat.

I looked up at the ceiling instead. “God, you’re fired!” I said in a voice that would have caused all the plants in the house to shrivel and die had I been a god, myself. The plants paid no attention.
Minutes later, I found my wallet, or rather God surreptitiously returned it to where I had left it in the first place. At least, where I think I may have left it. How the hell would I know where I left it, me with my factory-reject brain with no tech support.

I looked back up at the ceiling. Let this be a lesson to you, God, said the look on my face.

Nothing dropped out of the sky on me on the way to my lunch appointment. Lunch was great.


Smitty said...

Interesting that you fired God on Good Friday. The same day, that the Christ took his stand with these words, "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do."

Lizabeth said...

Well, at least you didn't have to worry about farmers hauling hay and large, mysterious farm equipment at 10mph and always in the no passing zone on a two lane road. Thats what I have up here in Northern, north Minnesota.

But yes, my brain is wired so I am fanatic about being on time so I also always leave early just in case of said farm equipment or snow or black ice. Usually there is no problem and I am early. This bothers my brain as much as being late---somethimes you can't win.

But don't be too hard on God.
She is outside of time anyway.

John McManamy said...

Hey, Smitty. I should have made the exact day more clear. It was yesterday, Holy Thursday, evening of the Last Supper, The Paschal Feast, when Christ sweated blood knowing what was in store for him.

Of all things, my day ended with me attending a support group given over to spirituality and mental health. Since we were midway into the week of Passover, the celebration of delivery from slavery, I brought along a reading from Exodus, which I read to the gathering:

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.”

I'm headed out for a walk right now. A time for quiet contemplation.

John McManamy said...

Hey, Lizabeth. When I lived in New Zealand, it was sheep on the road. Not in the cities, where I lived, but not too far out from the cities, either. I lived in Dunedin on the bottom of the South Island for 5 years. Dunedin Airport is about an hour out of town, and travelers do need to make allowances for occasional sheep delays. This was about 30 years ago. It might be different, now.

Gledwood said...

The last time I felt anything approaching full-on manic I remember feeling very close to God.

God as in God Almighty, source of all power and me being overwhelmingly full of energy and all...

ps I've been reading your book Living Well With Depression and Bipolar and it's really good. I just have one reservation: you barely write anything in any detail about schizoaffective disorder which surely deserves a section to itself. It's a pretty common diagnosis midway between bipolar (or depression) and schizophrenia and yet schizophrenic books barely mention it and neither do bipolar books. Despite the fact that neurological research seems to indicate it's closer to schizophrenia, I've only been helped really by books written for people with bipolar. There are no books at all specifically for it and barely any websites and I'm surprised you haven't addressed this subject more. Having had steadily increasing symptoms all my adult life I was only diagnosed with this condition after severe mania that only kicked in at the end of last year. I'm 39 years old and had been floundering, not getting any proper treatment for years.

Please would you consider writing something about schizoaffective disorder and putting it online. Better still add a section to your book, too. And bear in mind that in this instance the ICD 10 and DSM IV criteria vary with DSM insisting you somehow become mood episode free for 2 weeks in order to still have clear psychotic symptoms then, whereas the ICD10 specify concurrent schizophrenic and affective symptoms.

I'm from London by the way, so I'm not even sure I'd still be schizoaffective in New York City. Maybe there I'd be bipolar I...? Which is my differential diagnosis, btw...

"Doc Adler" said...

Lizabeth is right! You shouldn't be so harsh towards God. If it makes you feel better, I can grant you a free certificate to kick my ass the next time we see each other.

Charles M. Sakai
Colorado Springs

John McManamy said...

Hey, Charles. My favorite Gospel passage: Judge not ...

John McManamy said...

Hey, Gledwood. If you go to the Mood section of mcmanweb, you will find an article called What's in Your Psychosis, which offers insights into schizoaffective. Hope this helps.

Smitty said...

I see... and saw... the coincidence was not lost on me, John. I wrote because I was not completely sure... I trusted myself on the religious context.. Spelled it out too much, didn't I? You were wonderfully subtle and that was apropos!

John McManamy said...

Hey, Smitty. Not at all. I welcome all kinds of spiritual discussion. My spirituality is very important to me. Likewise, I have human failings. Firing God is about the contrast between my human failings and my spiritual ideals. I'm hoping to get out an Easter blog tomorrow. If not tomorrow, there will be another time and another occasion. Happy Easter!


Harry G said...

I've fired God on numerous occasions.But when I advertise the freed up vacancy the same guy keeps coming back as the sole applicant.

In my worst "what has God ever done for me?" moments I'm reminded by my wife that as a (recovering) alcoholic bipolar I really should be in my grave by now. Or at least somewhere just as uninspiring on my own.

During one of my recent unbelieving moments, my agnostic wife told me that during the highest moments of my a**holehood she wanted to separate but "something" held her back from doing it. I thought perhaps that could be put down to stupidity rather than deity.

But the odd thing is she's not at all stupid.