Impatiently Waiting

November 10, 2010

Today I could use a priest, maybe a monk. Two reasons.

1. The prophets are jumping from century to century, kingdom to kingdom and it’s confusing.

2. The prophets have been going on and on about this end of the world situation. God recommends people “just wait” as if it’s easy to ignore an overly hyped apocalypse. I can’t wait for anything because I’m human, I’m American and I’m managing opposing…I want to say personalities but that makes me sound like a psycho. IDs? Can priests address that?

There’s a lot of stuff going on in my life (as if everyone else is at the beach pounding margaritas) and I want everything wrapped up. I want answers. I want decisions. A good friend of mine suggested I “be still and listen,” which is like telling a crack addict to sip tea while reading Thomas Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem.”

I’m trying but it’s hard to listen when I’ve got Ms. Type A in one ear and this spontaneous, free spirited pixie in the other.

The contrast between these personalities is reflected in my office. I have 10 running to-do lists; a file folder of more than 200 fiction and non-fiction story ideas; two novels in-process; a list of life goals (often conflicting); and a list of quarterly goals. That’s the military side. The creative side painted the walls bright blue, hung art and covered a large bookcase with all sorts of randomness including graduation tassels (what?); journals; dried lavender; sports medals (who cares?); an original Betty Crocker cookbook; useless press passes; a typewriter; and a tooth, likely human.

I worry that if I fail to balance these identities, I’ll either end up like Dr. Leo Marvin, an uptight goal-oriented therapist who helps his patient, Bob, learn to appreciate life while his own falls apart, or The Dude, a happy burnout who loves White Russians and women named Bunny.

Thenali and What About Bob part 2/2

Big Lebowski Crash Scene

God expects his people to patiently wait for the end of the world. We don’t hear from the people, but we hear from the prophets who swing between Dr. M and The Dude. None of them are in the middle. None of them are “just waiting.” They’re either freaking out (type A) or calmly relaying God’s message (pixie). If the prophets can’t balance Dr. M and The Dude, how am I supposed to? Just wait?

Stopping Point: The Book of Malachi

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5 Responses to “Impatiently Waiting”

  1. Noah said

    Hi Ivy, Though not a priest or monk, hopefully a pastor can help some… I feel a bit nerdy here, but hopefully this helps. It is confusing the way the prophets are laid out date-wise. It would be easier if they were chronological. Interesting tid-bit: the original Jewish Scriptures had the Old Testament books laid out fairly chronologically and the books were later reorganized by genre and/or theological theme when the Septuagint was translated (300 BC), which is primarily what we use to organize the books today. I wish they would have kept it chronological. Reading the story of the Bible out of chronological order is like trying to watch a movie on shuffle.

    If this helps at all, here are the likely general dates when the books you just read are referring to:
    Zephaniah – 620ish BC
    Haggai – 520 BC
    Zechariah – 520-516 BC (chapters 1-8) & 480ish (chapters 9-14)

    Two keys events in the OT Israelite story are:
    -605 BC The Babylonian exile begins (where Ezekiel & Daniel happen)
    -539 BC they begin to return from exile (where Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther happen)

    Sometimes the prophets you are reading are referring to the actual end of the world, sometimes though (a lot of times) they are referring to the coming exile in 605 BC, and the ones written during/after the exile typically are referring to when they will get to return to their homeland and how they need to live upon returning, or they are referring to when the Messiah will come.

    I do find the amount of drama in the Old Testament interesting. For me as the reader I can just turn the page, whereas the people in the story had to go through the anxiety and confusion of the situation, not knowing for sure what was on the next page. Gives me some comfort about my tendency towards anxiety!

    Your comments remind me of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”

    • thumpme said

      Well, that straightens some things out. I suppose that’s why people go to church. Or, it’s at least one of the reasons. The drama is great. I wish the Bible calmed my anxiety. I haven’t gotten there yet.

      • Noah said

        I am a total cheater. Most of that is from the NIV Study Bible which gives me lots of notes like that and makes me sound smart.

        What I meant about my anxiety comment is that I feel better about it because I realize I’m not the only one… as a bunch of the people in the Bible were as bad or worse than me!

  2. thumpme said

    I would love to have the time to cheat on some of this stuff but I don’t have the mental capacity to read anything in tandem with the Bible. It’s so heady…

    I know that by reading this singularly, I’m missing a lot but that’s not to say this quest is over.

  3. […] and doom and gloom. Jesus, on the otherhand, is like an Independent film. Listening to him takes patience. He offers […]

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