Cursing My Way to Empathy   6 comments

Yesterday I applied for a groundskeeper position at Lynchburg College because it’s a full-time job and my current library position is part-time… and I enjoy yard work… and I’ve been thinking about starting an M.A. in counseling (free credits with full time work). Then I took Mazie for a walk as my agitation slowly crescendoed over my creaking joints, “What the blankety-blank am I doing?! My body can’t stand up under all that physical labor,” I griped as I limped along with a leg that’s been bothering me for… well… on and off for over a year.  “Why the blankety-blank are you going to study counseling?  One more degree to stack against the other useless ones after you discover you don’t like the work?”  This was just the latest on a life piled high with dead-end schemes, so I walked faster to drive out my perturbation… which just made my calf hurt more.

I was a couple miles down the trail, and as I’d left behind the other strollers, I was emboldened to turn my muttering into short, loud exclamations of woe.  Then I started singing a spontaneous dirge.  “I hate life on this wretched earth; full of misery, without mirth. What the heck were you thinking, God?  This is worse than a filthy clod.”  Hey, don’t criticize, I had to make up each line on the spot in 4/4 time.  I would tell you the chorus, but it was a pounding four-letter word, and some of my readers might be offended.  I swept other unfortunates into my lyrics, singing for all of us, and that curved around to lines of empathy for them and my wish to be supportive of them in their struggles.  And finally I came full circle to seeing God as understanding and empathizing, as being one of the wounded rather than the wounder.  That’s not a typical Christian approach: cursing my way back to faith.  But then, I’m not very typical.


Posted March 6, 2014 by janathangrace in Personal

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6 responses to “Cursing My Way to Empathy

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  1. YES!!!! I am a whole-hearted and devoted practitioner of the cursing prayer that leads me back to trusting and loving God!! And of singing my complaints to God, and my sadness and such in spontaneous, made on the spot tunes and lyrics – that are not in the least creative or even aesthetic. We need to start a new order of the wretched swearers!!! No rules needed. They even did a study, you recall, a few years ago that shows swearing actually helps aleviate pain and suffering… probably why we humans invented it in the first place…. it also assists in venting raging anger harmlessly into the air (not in front of the person you’re enraged at!!) so you don’t let loose on the person you’re enraged with. Swearing is my best therapy.

  2. Hope you get the job Kent. You would probably enjoy going back to school too. God has a great plan for you, and I am sure he can handle the swearing song. Probably heard worse more times that we want to know. You are such an interesting writer, ever thought of writing a book? Your honesty and openness to others is very real and helpful for anyone who suffers from depression. I really enjoy reading your blog and appreciate you. Have a good day and keep looking up!

    • Thanks for commenting, Susan. I guess I’ll know in a couple of weeks if I get the job. Meantime I will probably apply elsewhere as well. Berly is leaving her job and doesn’t have another one lined up. I wrote a book once and couldn’t find a publisher. Writing, as time-consuming as it is, is actually the easier part of getting a book published. I’m glad you enjoy my writing. Have a good day yourself.

  3. Boy do I empathize with the specific source of your anger and the “I hate life on this wretched earth,” feelings. This is an awesome post. Praying for you but also thanking God for how He is using your pain to bless others. Thank you for being faithful and keeping on trusting; it matters so much to so many people. I just read that God has not promised us anything earthly thing except His Presence. Not even a fulfilling (paying) job that uses our gifts for His Kingdom though I am still praying for that.

    May God lead you and pour out His blessings on you, your ministry, your wife, and your marriage, as He continues to use you on the unconventional path on which He has placed you.

    • Wow, thanks for all the blessings sent my way, Judy! I hope they land and stick! I think there are a lot more of us around than someone would guess from interactions on a Sunday morning at church.

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