Jun 19, 2006

What's a "God Thing?"

Spoiler: I’m going to complain, complain, complain today. Complain about God like a brat. So if you’re not into it, don’t read.

More on The God Thing

When I was younger, I heard sermon upon sermon about the wonderful plans God had for my life. The sermons were laid thick with scripture verses about God directing your path. “You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘this is the way, walk ye in it.’ ” Or “God opens the doors no man can close.” Or verses about how “I called upon the Lord and He heard my cry.”

I believed it, with all the naïveté of Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. And God answered. Doors opened. Provision was met. Oh yes, that reminds me. One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh. We even sang a song, “Jehovah Jireh, my provider, his grace is sufficient for me, for me, for me!” to the tune of some fake Hebrew Klezmer music. A bunch of white trash honkeys singing like we were Jews in shul. What a joke.

After last week’s list of almost-bookings, I had a callback for Subway. I walked into the callback and saw a director I’d worked with already. He gave me a hug, we chatted, blah blah, and I nailed it.
I nailed the audition. My agent’s assistant called 20 minutes later. “You’re on avail for subway!” That means they’ve called to make sure you’re “available.” The weekend came and went. The spot shoots this week.

This morning I called my agent to see if I was still on avail for Subway. The assistant said yes, in fact the casting director called to confirm I was still available and of course my agent said yes, I was.

I went to a yoga class, and when I got out I had a message. It was my agent, Peter Novick. “Call me right away.” When the agent, not the assistant calls, it’s good news.

“So?” I asked.
Peter sighed. “When I called you 25 minutes ago, I had good news. They wanted to book you for the spot. You were the director and ad agency's first choice, slam dunk. But the client wanted someone else. They wanted to have you come down for wardrobe with the caveat that you might not shoot it, but at least you'd get a session fee. So 25 minutes ago the casting director called to see if you were still available. But between then and now … well, the casting director called back to say they went with the other person.”

“What? Because I didn't call in that 25 minute window? They already knew from this morning that I was available! Is this some kind of joke?”

This does feel like a joke. In a world where there is only chaos and no meaning, then it is a joke. But in this world where God is supposed to be involved, what does this mean?

Last week I sat at a callback for 2 ½ hours, the front runner in an American Idol kind of elimination game. A woman I know told me about the commercial she booked that’s saved her daughter and her financially, and how it was such a “God Thing.” In the last half hour of the callback another actress booked the spot.

And now this. Not, “they didn’t choose you,” but rahter, "there was a war over choosing you, and in a sick twist of fate you had to call back in 20 minutes to answer the question a second time, but you called back in 25, so you didn’t get it. Ha ha ha!”

This is wreaking havoc on my faith. Is this a God Thing? If so, what does this say about God? Or what he must feel about me?

“Maybe God is closing all the doors so you’ll just concentrate on your book,” my friend Mim repeated to me today.

How could one day on a commercial shoot keep me from writing my book? In fact a commercial could ensure I'm making enough money so I can write, instead of doing a shitty law office job. Conversely, NOT booking this spot, or any of the other nine, no ten callbacks I've had, NOT booking them ensures I have to get a shitty law office job, and come home exhausted, not to mention depressed because I'm working a shitty law office job instead of the business I've done all these years. And you think I'm going to want to come home and write a book about my relationship with God? No way. What a waste of toner.

So my head goes: if God is involved, then he’s choosing not to help. So what did I do to you God that you don't care? The reality is, God probably isn't involved. The entertainment business is cruel. It just is. And it's full of teases and near misses and near-hits. That's the way it is. What's shitty about this is realizing the teaching I swallowed so readily. One of the many faults of modern evangelicalism and modern American culture, for that matter, is our narcissism: making God into our assistant, or life coach à la Tony Robbins. Use God as a talisman for better living techniques to success. And for that reason I am ashamed of my attitude, to even ask God to get involved.

But if he's not involved, then what kind of relationship do I have with him?

My therapist said, “All God cares about is your character. God is like a parent, teaching us to grow up."

What, am I in some kind of obstacle course, where I have to prove my character before God throws me the rawhide chip? Of course God cares about our character, but if he's a parent, wouldn’t a parent feel sad when their child is sad, or happy when their child is happy? And what kind of parent would heap one obstacle after another to stop that child from reaching a modicum of success, or at least make health insurance?

Larry and I have been reading, “People of the Lie,” by Scott Peck. He encountered parents who punished their children to keep them in line. Peck called those parents evil. It’s sounding really familiar.

It also disturbs me that at my age, I'm still thinking of God this way. Life is difficult, Peck wrote in "The Road Less Travelled." He said that emotional health is a commitment to reality at all costs." Or something like that. Which means, what? Which means, I'm screwed.

Larry said he was going to fast and pray for clarity about all of this.
I told him I'd join him. but I was calling it a hunger strike.

After some consideration, I realized I needed to fast and pray that God would forgive me for being such a big narcissistic baby. And ask him to change me and my attitude.

1 comment:

Levydry said...

I can identify with this. So many times I have questioned God about situations in my life and some of the "tactics" He uses.
I would like people in my church to read this, as it is so true to life. Please may I copy and paste to my blogger "as is"

God Bless Llewelyn

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