Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Score: Nina: 1, Jesus: 0.

Notes to reader: a) this is a long post; get comfortable b) I forgot to mention the cowboy-up incident c) I couldn't work in the key-lime pie and d) ditto the fried chicken. d) blasphemy quotient is inexcusably high; proceed with caution. Thank you.

To begin, my relationship with the Almighty has been - to put it plainly - quite limited in recent years. Among my standard prayers have been memos like,

Dear Jesus,

'I enjoyed that apple picking trip and the sunset on the orchard. Thanks for that.

From, Nina.


Sometimes I go with the standard thy will be done prayer that has never ceased to be a favorite among believers. Others, I am aware, pray for things, like freedom from sin, good health for their families and friends, winning lottery tickets and better hair.

I do not make these prayers. Or at any rate, I never will again.

You see, a few years ago, I went through a phase. This phase was marked by a poor decision on my part to be like others and file requests. I thought about what I wanted, and I filed. I opened with proper salutations and closed with proper expressions of gratitude for the request not yet granted.

Here is a short list of the things I prayed for:

1) That my brother not leave New York City because we were neighbors and it was great.

2) That my career become stable, if not lucrative and fulfilling.

3) That I somehow, someway, end up with a husband and a child. Methods unimportant. (Go ahead and notice that's a BIG request).

4) That my family all remain well.

5) That I not get so worn out that I can't finish my PhD.

These requests are significant, but I think also comprehensible. Notice that aside from item number three, there is nothing all that difficult or strictly unreasonable on the list. I did not ask for a pony or a tennis bracelet. No unicorns, either.

Here is how Jesus handled my requests:*




That's right. Not only did Jesus NOT grant a single request, but in the next frame, he stepped out of a crack in the firmament and smashed garden peas into my face until I was nearly suffocated with grainy bits of semi-frozen (and universally agreed to be un-delicious) vegetable matter.

Then he said,

You, Nina-swears-a-lot, doth NOT ever fileth a request conmigo. Ever! Are we all clear, slattern?

Then he shook his fist at me and returned to heaven to drink martinis and play bridge with my mother and her parents.

Well, perhaps it didn't go down exactly like that.

Here are the facts concerning my requests and the results:

1) Brother decided to move to New Jersey, where I would be able to see him maybe once a month rather than three times a week.

2) I lost one of my two jobs, found out my contract would be forever tied to unstable enrollment such that my pay, benefits could be cut severely - or disappear entirely - without any advance notice to me, whatsoever. Three times a year, I have to watch enrollment all the way up to the day before classes start to see if I still have a job. (The cutting actually happened one semester, too).

3) FB led me by the nose for two years without promising to marry me. Every time I tried to end it, he cried and said I was ruining his life BUT that he could not let me go. But would he marry me? No. But I was not to leave him! Never! So I left him anyway and find myself even now, two years later, unable to think of men as anything other then larger versions of humans who like football and porn and in actual fact are not really of my species at all. In short, I am so fucked up I can't even think about dating without bursting into tears and screamin:g WHY WHY WHY? For extra confirmation that I would be lonely and childless forever, Jesus gave me early menopause. Thanks for that, too, JC.

4) My dad not only got cancer, but he got two kinds. The big one, leukemia, gave him a staff infection that landed him in multiple organ failure three weeks after diagnosis - he spent a month in CCU. Then "it" went into remission for eight months before coming back with such a vengeance that his oncologist didn't want to bother to treat him anymore. My dad, who is the person I love most in the entire world, was told he had two weeks to live. Then he told me that he never wanted to see me again because he didn't want me to see him suffer. Our relationship was not only to be ended by inky black death, but also by his desire to spare me his suffering. Holy (no pun intended) shit.

5) Due to the above, particularly items 2, 3, and 4, who the fuck cares whether I finish my PhD? I am lucky if I finish this can of peas.

6) In case I didn't quite get the point that my happiness is a condition most assuredly despised by the Almighty, I also got the Great Larry Debacle of 2007 thrown in to keep me good and hysterical while I was having all my other problems -such as the one where my step mother went psycho and the one where the rumors that my dad has disinherited us surfaced and the one where I ended up with a $2000 cell phone bill for a single month. I also broke my arm mountain biking, got audited by the IRS (score: me $0; IRS, $15,000), oh and by the way, Lola no longer speaks to me anymore because her boyfriend doesn't like me. Can I borrow that box of nails so I can shove them into my eyes? The end.

At the beginning of 2007, which is what I now refer to as the "middle" of the end of all hope and joy in my life, I ceased all intercessory pray and resorted to missives like,

Dear Jesus,

I see that you have taken my requests into full consideration and not only declined to fulfill even one of them, but that you also wish to destroy me. I enjoyed the apple picking trip and the sunset on the orchard except for the inky black psychotic depressive mania that prevents me from enjoying anything. So thanks for that.

Best wishes, Nina.

PS. If this is how you treat your friends... never mind. Thank also for the newly diagnosed migraine headaches. I mean if that was meant to be a "good" thing... never mind. Apples, thanks. Talk later.


In the middle of 2007, around the Larry Debacle season, I ceased all witty banter surrounding the mentions of thanks and just went with

Hi Jesus.

I notice I am not dead today. I really wish I were. Here's hoping I fake you out this time and I really do die.

From, Nina.


And finally when my Dad was sent home to die, I stopped talking to God altogether and commenced to simply stare at him as if to say,

You got something to say to me? Any more peas up your sleeve? HEY! I am LOOKING AT YOU.

He, who STILL spends most all day every day getting drunk with my mother and her parents, simply stared back between hands of bridge. Occasionally, he spit in my eye. Hey, it's Jesus spit, so it's not really that gross, right?

(HERE IS THE PART OF THE POST WHERE NIGHTFLY GASPS AUDIBLY AND SAYS, "OH, NINA, NO.. YOU DID NOT SAY THAT." SORRY, 'FLY. I CANNOT PRETEND I HAVE RESPONDED WELL TO ALL THIS MATERIAL FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH.)

This has been my default position regarding heavenly beings, bodies, and matters for quite a while now. Many, many people have come to me and confessed that they were praying for my dad and many have asked me to pray with them and to enter him into novenas and send his name in an envelope to the Pope and who knows what all else. People all over the world, strangers and friends alike, have prayed for my dad. And you know what?

The entire time my dad has been home and polishing up his spiritual perfection for an early, painful, and unmerited demise, I have flatly refused to say a single prayer on his behalf. I am convinced that if I did, he would not only die, but die in a painful and humiliating way and at the same time manage apply a curse to me for the rest of my life for being such an ungrateful and thoughtless daughter. If I prayed for my dad - even two words - that is precisely how it would go down. I know it for a scientific fact, and if you have read this far, so do you.

So me? Pray for my dad's recovery? Cold. Day. In. Hell.

But stare at Jesus as if to say,

You wanna piece-a-me? Eh?

Why, yes. I have stared in unrelenting, stone cold unflinching silent disbelief and horror for six solid months.


I am pleased to announce that in the staring contest between me and Jesus, I am the victor.

My dad's blook work came back last week normal. He is that 1 in 23,332,343,473,234,206,122,662,329 people in recorded history to go into spontaneous remission from recurrent leukemia.

Since prayers of gratitude have always been more natural for me, I write here the very first words I have said to Jesus in six months:

Dear Jesus,

I enjoyed the apple picking trip and the sunset on the orchard, inky black psychotic depression notwithstanding. Regarding recent events, I like your style - even if I don't always care for your choice of frozen vegetables. So thank you for giving me my dad back, even if it's just for a little while. I appreciate the enormity of it. Also thank you. I needed a break that didn't involved a protruding... never mind.

Love always, Nina.

P.S. Showed you, didn't I?

P.P.S. a pony would be nice.

P.P.P.S. Totally kidding about the pony. (Unicorn)?





*Image courtesy of Mr. Fabulous, who said it was ok if I used his clay sculpey of Jesus and canned peas.

28 comments:

jen said...

Yeah...we need to meat.

Scared of me yet?

Thanks for th words on my blog by the way.

jen said...

Oh my god...I just realized that I spelled "meat" instead of "meet".

That? Made my whole week!

Unkempt Mommy said...

You're a talented writer! I really enjoyed the read (although I guess it seems morbid to say I enjoyed it, considering the topic) Nevertheless, I'm glad you will get more time wih your dad.

I'll definitely stop in again soon

nicoleantoinette said...

Thanks for sharing all of this.. not only are you a ridiculously strong person, you're a great writer. If you keep writing, I'll keep reading it.

em said...

Oh, Nina, that's great! Yay Dad.

storyteller said...

I used to want a pony ... later a giraffe ... but methinks a unicorn might be better than both because (having just cleaned up Molly's "deposit" this morning, I wouldn't want to think about cleaning up after a pony or a giraffe ... but a unicorn might not leave anything TO clean up! LOL

Don't know if I'll become "addicted" but I do follow you in a reader as well. Today's post reminded me of my own challenges with God and prayer over the years. You should know I was born when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but looking back, I'm quite sure God DID answer many (if not all) of my prayers in a loving (but frustrating) "no ... not in your best interest" manner. What I've learned gradually is to ask for fewer specifics and simply pray for "the highest good for all concerned" ... So far, the results are amazingly better than anything I would have THOUGHT to ask for.

I'm glad your dad's in remission. I wasn't so lucky. Mine died of cancer in less than 3 months when I was 30 ... and I was angry about that for a long time.
Hugs and blessings,

LAS said...

I am so happy that you have more time with your dad! I hesitate to say it, but I do believe that prayer can work and I do believe in miracles.

Finn said...

I would say your problem is that you are trying to engage Sculpey Jesus rather than real Jesus. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Want blasphemy? Troll back into my archives and find my "Conversations With God."

I'm going to Hell.

Woodrow said...

That's great news, Neenya. But you probably already knew that. I hope at least some of your faith is restored. It makes life much easier to bear.

P said...

This is a brilliant post, Nina. It seems that Jesus has been falling down on the job lately. Maybe you should give him a pink slip and then tell old Jesus you are replacing him with Voltron. See how he likes *that.*

Did you ever know that you're my hero? Wind beneath my wings, etc.?

Preposterous Ponderings said...

Sometimes Jesus needs a swiff kick in the rear before he sees things our way.

Good luck getting the unicorn!Miracles are known to happen though.

Avitable said...

Just be glad Jesus doesn't love you like he loves children, according to Mr. Fab.

Nina said...

Jen, what, you know something about inky black depression?? You don't say!

Jen, meat, meet, it's sort of the same thing. Ew, that was gross.

Unkempt Mommy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. It's hard to make a whole post about someone else's problem look like it's really about me, but, as you said, I am a pretty good writer, and gosh do I ever know a thing or two about being self-centered.

Nicoleantoinette, thanks for your kind words regarding how "strong" I am. I am strong, alright. You'd know how right you are if you could see how much bigger of a person I am since I started staying home all in my pajamas eating gummy bears and drinking vodka. You know, come to think of it, it's cocktail hour. I'll be right with you. Just a sec.

Em, thanks! It is rather great, isn't it?

Storyteller, sorry to hear you lost your dad when you were so young. I totally get the part about non-specifics with regard to prayer. It is one of the reasons the "thy will be done" thing is so useful. However, it would still be great if the divine will did not include... never mind. I am pretty sure that I already made that point.

LAS, how about youdo the praying and I'll do the staring? Or I can give thanks for your blessings and you can ask God not to smack me upside the head with frozen vegetable quite so often?

Finn, point taken and absolutely true. Real Jesus is much more intimidating, despite the fact that sculpey Jesus is so violent and drinks so heavily. With my mother. Oh wait I have confused myself.

Woodrow, well we did sort of know. But even when you know that you know, you also have to know that no one I know or you know or anyone else in the known universe (except for like 3 people we don't know) gets a break like this. So yeah, I knew, but now I know.

P, did you ever know that if I replaced Jesus with Voltron, the Jesus would turn Voltron into a gross of semi-frozen peas and smash me again? That Jesus, he is powerful and much smarter than I am. Also, you - esteem, eagle's wings, etc. *air kiss* And please tell Fauxhawk I said mitten two is in progress. ANd also that thing you mentioned about having something for me: YES me want. Let's discuss next week when I get back from visiting my very alive dad. Wow, to be able to even say that... wow.

Preposterous Ponderings, apparently so. There are so few occurrences of spontaneous remission that there is no good data. Except for the data I made up for extra drama.

Avitable, I have not seen may of Mr. Fab's sculpeys, but almost every single one makes me nervous. I do not wish to know what you meant by the thing about the children. Sort of like I don't want to know anything about that video you recently posted.

country roads said...

I love the clay jesus. I'm happy to hear about your dad, too.

Mr. Fabulous said...

My friend, I have to say, that was a great post. It takes a lot for me to get all the way through a long post without skimming or skipping portions, but I digested every word.

Great news about your dad.

And yes, frozen peas suck.

Maggie said...

YAY!

So much happiness!

More evidence that your dad does indeed rock. He beats the odds! And he beats them with fried chicken, beer and smokes.

There are absolutely Popeye's in NYC; do a search on those internets. I think there's one on 6th Ave at West 4th street, near the IFC theater. I *know* there's one right off the PATH train, in Journal Square. You need to toast your dad's miraculous remission with some extra crispy.

And you already know it, but God's plan is not always necessarily the same as ours, or at least not always following the path we'd expect. As you've already had enough theology for one day, perhaps consider it from a more pop-cultural perspective:
THanksgiving by Poi Dog Pondering

cajunvegan said...

Sweet Jebus, remission is great news!

If miracles do really happen, I hope you get that unicorn.

Kate P said...

I almost could hear Kathy Griffin delivering this post like a monologue. . .

Hey, that's really good news about your dad!

I could have a whole side conversation with you about God, prayer, frozen veggies, etc. Briefly, though: There's no one perfect way to pray, and even the saints yelled at God (case in point, your partial quote above of Teresa of Avila scolding God about "how you treat your friends").

I haven't been reading or commenting that long so hopefully I'm not overstepping when I say that this time when you won I think Jesus won, too. :)

What do unicorns eat?

LizB said...

This post made my day, in so many ways. You, my blog friend, are funny in the edgy-razor-blade way, which is the way I like my funny. Great news about your dad, and I pray (there's that word again) that he keeps beating the odds. You're amazing.

The Horny Bitch said...

A lot of anger in there. U've already hit rick bottom, it can't get any worse than that.

It's like seeing a 3 inch and be thankful it can't get any worse..

Never seen a 3 inch? Lucky u.. =)

Slick said...

Awesome about your Dad Nina....

All the other relgiousness...well, I'm kinda in agreement with an earlier version of yourself :)

utenzi said...

I agree with you about prayer, Nina, but I'm not sure if it's for the same reason. I've always thought that praying was idiotic but maybe there's something to it I don't understand. My feeling has always been that if God, all-knowing as he is, has a plan for us then praying for alterations in that plan might be considered presumptious on our part. Maybe God is amused by that sort of thing---but I don't want to take that chance.

It's amazing and wonderful that your Dad has a remission from such a deadly type of cancer. Maybe that not praying thing has something going for it.

Joel said...

Delightful lady, I don't see a trackback url on this post, so here's a manual one. You expressed better than I could a feeling I've had, too.

Anonymous said...

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I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of downloading our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.


(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://kwstar88.livejournal.com/491.html]R4[/url] DS rrPost)

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