"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why Yesterday Was NOT the "Worst Day of My Life"

Yesterday included being in a car accident, getting robbed and getting really awful medical news. It wasn't a good day, but it wasn't the worst. The day after my 19th birthday still holds that dubious record. It wasn't the worst because I decided it was redeemable and I did something about it.

1) Stuck in an auto repair shop waiting room for 3 hours listening to country Christmas songs, I struck up a conversation with a woman there with her 9 month-old daughter. She'd been told by the manager that there were 11 (I counted) things wrong that needed fixing - having come in for an oil change... with a coupon. She didn't know what a tie-rod or CV joint was and she was going to head out, thinking that the shop was just trying to gouge her. I know them; that's why I go there; they're very reasonable (but slow).
"Jason, that's too much for her to deal with. If it were your car and you could only afford to fix one thing, what would it be?" He started to give the "well, it's all pretty important..." then looked at me and said she needed one particular thing done or she risked having a wheel fall off before Christmas. "How much would that be?" He gave a price that made the woman start saying no. "If she has it done right now, could you do it for $__?" He hesitated, said he'd run some numbers... "yeah. I have to fudge some numbers with corporate, but yeah." I told the woman she needed to get it done and she'd never get a better price. "And I'll throw in $20 of my own, because I want you to get this done."

A little later, Jason the manager came up to me and said, "Thanks. I didn't want her driving it like that. Your next oil change is on me."

2) At the hospital, I got a visit from the chaplain. He looked to be about 25 years old, so I asked him if he went to seminary locally (I know a lot of seminarians). He went to Vanderbilt. I knew someone who went to seminary there and we laughed about some things that would only be funny if you knew anything about going to school in Tennessee. We ended up talking about Job - I was having one of those days where "smite" and "riven" and other words never used any more seemed appropriate. Job's wife gets mentioned only once; she's usually quoted as saying, "You still insist on your integrity? Curse God and die." The Hebrew actually says, "Bless God and die," which I think is really interesting (in a way that interests very very few people).

The book of Job never gives one the answers one wants when one starts reading it and it's infuriating because of that. What I've come to see is that what's important is that, in reading it, you end up thinking about someone else's problems and standing in their corner against a God that seems arbitrary and vindictive. That's what's healing - getting out of your own problems and wanting to make sense of someone else's.

3) I went for a run. Ended up meeting "Steve in a Speedo" and "Pharmie." He took a photo of me, so I guess my kidding triathletes here will have to subside until I see what he does with it.

4) I successfully got rid of the phishing bot that's been visiting this blog.


GeorgiaSnail said...

That's what's healing - getting out of your own problems and wanting to make sense of someone else's.

Thanks Steve...a good reminder, glad you were able to "startover"...

Xenia said...

I think meeting Steve and Pharmie would definitely make things better. They seem like really good people.

I'm glad you can still see the good when things may not be so. Hang in there, SQ, and know we've got your back.

TRI714 said...

The book of Job has really several messages but the main would be to persevere even when others around you doubt it possible.
You did an awesome thing with that women. And it was sincere and randomn.
Sorry about your day. But it sounds like it ended up being, well o.k. or even better depending how one wants to view life.
You are an interesting guy.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

To me, the worst thing about Job is the tacked-on "happy" ending. "Wow, I get TWICE as many sheep and TWICE as many camels and SEVEN replacement children? Compared to THESE children, my first set totally SUCKED! Thanks, God!"

It's a great story about how suffering is frequently arbitrary and undeserved ... until that ending. I think most scholars believe the ending was added later. It's an incredibly bad and obviously ill-fitting one.

The book as a whole also betrays distinctly Manichean theological underpinnings,

So ... the bad medical news ... Not too bad, I trust?

SteveQ said...

G: actually, he gets seven replacement sons plus three daughters, who get named (which is really unusual). Even if God had returned the original children, which being all-powerful seems reasonable, Job still has a net loss, having had to deal with the stress of not having them for a while. It's weird.

The ending doesn't seem especially tacked-on to me, given that both Moses and Isaiah describe their own deaths and funerals! Having been an oral story for perhaps thousands of years before being written, this is just one variation - just the only one we have.

JojaJogger said...

Wow, having a terrible day, yet helping out a gal with car trouble, you should have been discussing the story of the good Samaritan. BTW, your comments from a couple of weeks ago are on my blog now, I've had to filter the Chinese spammers and hadn't checked my filter in awhile.

Steve Stenzel said...

Hope your days are looking up! I just posted about dome running, so you'll see I did NOTHING bad with your photo!... ;)

See you there soon, I'm sure...

Matt said...

Steve, it was good to run with you for a little while at the Dome on Thursday and hear some exciting trail running stories. Glad you were able to find some good things during your day. Sometimes that's the greatest victory—finding light in the darkest of dark times.