Monday, July 18, 2011

Let the whining begin!

Dear God,

Things aren’t going my way lately. And I’m afraid I'm on the verge of becoming something I detest: a whiner. Please don’t let that happen to me. You know how I can't stand whiners.

As the keeper of a cat, this is tested from time to time, but, it holds true. I’m thankful Romeo is an inside/outside beast, because when he whines, his furry little carcass is routinely tossed into the outer darkness where there is weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

Whiny kids are a problem for me, too. Thankfully, neither of my kids are whiners. Never were. Not even when they were wee little. They knew better. It never got them very far with me. (They would have ended up with the cat.) And you know that I love other people’s kids. Really I do. But other’s people’s kids have a tendency to whine. And I hate it when they whine. Really I do.

I remember the Whiner family from Saturday Night Live. I would sit and listen to them whining while people around me thought it was the funniest thing. Did you find it amusing? I never laughted. All I wanted to do was turn the TV off.

We both know that when parishioners come to me and whine, you give me the strength I need to do my job and listen to them sympathetically. So far, you’ve restrained me from saying “Oh, suck it up!”, which is what I’d most like to tell them when they start whining. Thank you for that.

Of course, I know you’re a lot more patient than I am with whiners. It seems to be your nature to put up with them. There was Adam who whined that he wasn’t responsible for his actions; it was all Eve’s fault. And who can forget the children of Israel, who were saved from slavery and certain death through a miracle of God’s deliverance, and then proceeded to whine for forty years because things weren’t quite perfect on the way to the Promised Land? Jesus’ disciples were classic whiners, all worried about petty concerns, like who got to talk to Jesus, or who got to sit where in the Kingdom, as if any of that mattered a hill of beans. And then there’s Saint Paul, who was so pathetic, whining round and round in circles about how he wanted to do the right thing, but as hard as he tried, he always ended up doing what he knew her shouldn’t be doing. Oh, Whaa! Whaa! Whaa!

The Bible might be subtitled, The Book of Whining. It’s filled with self-centered people who don’t get what you’re up to, and can only fret about what’s in it for them, or usually, what’s not in it for them. And, of course, the Bible is a fine representation of humanity, isn’t it? That’s why we love it so much.

If I were you, God, I would have ended it a long time ago. I really don’t know how you tolerate it. But from what I know of you, you more than tolerate it. You seem to have an affinity toward whiners. Why? I don’t understand it one bit. But you do.

So, here’s the deal. I’m afraid I can’t hold it in any longer. I think I need to give myself permission to whine. I don’t want to and I hate it hate it hate it. But if I don’t, I may implode. And I think I would hate that worse. So, all that being said, I really do appreciate the fact that you’re a lot more gracious with whiners than I am. I’m going to count on that.

Love, Nancy

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