His roots dry up below
and his branches wither above.
The memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name in the land.
He is driven from light into the realm of darkness
and is banished from the world.
He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
no survivor where once he lived.
People of the west are appalled at his fate;
those of the east are seized with horror.
Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
such is the place of one who does not know God.”
- Job 18:16-21
Okay, this Scripture is Bildad, one of Job’s friends, basically telling Job that he is going to hell. I wonder if Job is the one who first said, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” Or is that, “With fronds like these, who needs enemas?” (Sorry, old joke.) Obviously, Bildad was supplying bad theology and bad advice. But what happens when a doctor says that you have cognitive issues and that it could be possible that your memory is perishing from your mind, instead of memory of him perishing from the earth? Then he says that stress could be the cause?
My wife was told to reduce stress. Other than her myriad of illnesses, I am her major stressor. The only problem is that she imagines most of the stress, even when I can keep myself cool, calm, and collected.
Case in point, we went grocery shopping the other day. The only handicap spot was the priceless spot next to the grocery exit, but it is parallel compared to all the other straight-in spots. A car was half in the pregnant mother spot, halfway in the handicapped spot – probably not qualified for either. I got my small car in what was left and hung my handicap tag from the rearview mirror. This handicapped spot is extra-large to accommodate large vans, thus parallel parking for ease in exiting through a hydraulic ramp for a wheelchair.
After shopping, I unloaded the cart into the backseat while my wife went to sit down in the car. She had walked the aisles of the store, leaning on the shopping cart, and she was very tired. An old guy, maybe 70s so not much older than me, pulled into the remaining portion of my parking spot, straight in, passenger wheels on the line with the pregnant woman spot. I had one inch between my front bumper and the side of his car, but since I squeezed into on the spot due to a different car who was now gone, there was only one inch between me and the handicap sign and curb at the back of my car. I was wedged, unable to move. I simply shrugged, not wanting to make a scene and have my wife get upset. The man stared at me. I stared back without saying a word. The man then screamed a curse in my direction, backed out and sped away.
If he were sane and if he had given me a chance to talk to him, I could have finished unloading the groceries into our backseat and he could have the space, but I doubt if he had a handicap tag.
Then my wife complained all the way home that I gave him an aggressive shrug. That shrug intimidated the man, and I should not have done that. According to her, I was going to be the death of her or at least her memory if I could not control my rage. Rage?! What rage?! I shrugged. I calmly asked her if she wanted all our frozen food to melt while this guy shopped. Otherwise, I never lost my cool.
All my efforts at staying calm were for nothing. My wife had a meltdown imagining what I might have done with a crazy old coot who was probably used to not thinking any situation through – otherwise, how could he think it a good idea to box someone into a corner with no way out while the person was standing right there unloading groceries from the shopping cart? Any sane person would know that in a few seconds, the parking space would be available, so wait and use the universal signal of a turn signal letting everyone know, “That’s my spot once they leave.”
I feel like the one who should be driven from light into darkness, or is this the darkness already? People from the west are appalled by our fate. People from the east are seized with horror.
Okay, those are just other people and most of them are crazy anyway. Our new normal is far from normal. I am usually the person who shows emotions freely, and I am now the one trying my best to be stoic and that is not good enough. My wife is beginning to imagine ills that are not there. We have enough ills. We do not need not to imagine more ills.
I do not know where this is going, not this post or our lives in general, but I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will see us through. And if I am to remain stoic, it will not be on my own power. I never had that power. It must come from God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.