The Mailman Brought Me a Jackass


Remember how my friend from last week’s blog was frustrated with my lack of bubbling-over enthusiasm about my article? Well, she was the first one I called after it got pulled from the publication.

I didn’t call to gloat. I called to tell her what had happened and that I was bummed. She was equally, maybe even more, bummed. But I did say, “You see? You see why I try not to let my expectations run away with me? This is my experience! I get shit on.”

She sighed heavily. “Yeah… I see what you mean.”

I had, between the publication of the article and receiving a jackass in the mail instead of a pony, asked her how she dealt with disappointment. Her expectations soar above the hole in the ozone layer, like mine, so I thought I could learn something.

“Well, I cuss and then cry and then sleep and then I’m over it because something even better is coming.”

Well, that’s exactly what I do, but with a twist. It is easier for me think, Well, yeah something better is coming because someday I’m going to die and then none of this will matter. She believes something better will happen here in this life and it’s right around the corner. She makes it seem as easy breezy as a Covergirl commercial. For me, it’s like an episode of Chopped in which I lean over to ask my competitor what the hell a rambutan is and how to fix it. It is far easier for me to believe we have to take good and bad together, and acknowledge how bad everything in the world really is, meaning God can only do so much good because the bad is so bad. Reality, right?

Enter optimism.

Optimism is something I don’t have as much trouble with. It is the ability to cope creatively with a given situation. But optimism is not the same as believing something is coming and you won’t have to find the good to see it as good because it will be entirely good. It is hard for me to trust good things without thinking there is fine print somewhere and I missed it and it says,

“Sucker. There is no such thing as entirely good.”

“Entirely good” is hard for me because, on some level, I still feel like I have to work hard to earn entirely good things and God will only create entirely good things if I deserve them. (A bunch of bull, but just because I know it’s bull doesn’t instantly change me.) I find this very ironic because my article, my story, is about this very thing. Many people see my article as dealing with homosexuality within Christianity, as struggling to accept my father and his partner, as trying to function as a loving family and failing. And it’s about all of that, but really, it’s about how God delivered a pony.

No one in my family deserved what God did. We did not deserve to spend holidays with EVERYONE in the same room. We did not deserve to have a family of BFFs. We did not read our Bibles everyday, we didn’t forgive everyone who pissed us off, and we sure as heck didn’t keep a list of our shortcomings, so we could list them off to God, and be sure not to miss one. For some, because my dad and Jeff are in a relationship, there are doubts about how there has been any real redemption at all. And yet, there was. God created entirely good out of not even entirely bad! And we didn’t even do everything right! We pursued God and we handed our relationships over to Him. That was it. My God. I did not put any of that together until just now (duh!).

From one story, from one experience, the grace of God washes over me again and again, wave after beautiful wave. I have been relegating God to a purveyor of jackass-pony hybrids. There would always have to be some aspect I would just have to put up with. No. God does not deal in jackass-pony hybrids, and, by the way, He NEVER gives us jackasses either. Jackasses are what happen as a result of the world being broken and jackass-pony hybrids are what happen when we try to do life without God. God gives ponies. He is ALWAYS good. It usually won’t look like we expect, but it will always be entirely good, and it will happen in this life if we get out of the way and let God do His God-thing.

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