Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hello, My Name is Amber and I'm a Slacker

Well, at least my slacking has a little bit of an excuse?

I started a new job (my first new job in 17 years! what can I say, I'm unfond (It's a word because I say it is) of change and I was *super* competent in my last position, so I was not in the mood to change until I suddenly was). It's with the same company, so that's nice but it's completely different from what I was doing before so it's been a bit of a learning curve. This is my third week and I'm still loving it and I haven't broken the presses yet so all in all, it's a good thing.

I'm behind (so very, very behind) on my Qur'an posts, and obviously I have made no other posts in the interim. But I have a couple of books that people (Susanne) have said I should write about and I can just do random, why is this my life posts too.


I've been thinking, the past couple of days, about my tendency to try and bargain with God. I don't know if it's something in my personality or maybe it has more to do with the version of Christianity that I grew up with and have chosen to surround myself with, or maybe it's just a facet of American Christianity that's so basic we hardly notice it unless we're looking for it. Or maybe it's an American thing. Or a human thing. I don't know.

I'm sure you know what I mean. Prayers that start with: 'Dear God, if You...' or 'If You just let me get through this...' '...get me home safe...' '...keep my loved one safe...' and continue with '...I will/I promise/I won't...'


If God will do X then we will do Y. Whether that Y is praying more or giving up gambling or smoking or drinking or going to church or donating our time/money/etc to a worthy cause. We want to bribe God to do what we want Him to do. We think that we can influence the outcome of events by getting God to do what we want.

And it doesn't work that way. We can't do that. God will do what God will do and we can't change anything by trying to bribe Him.

Because of my new job I've been nervous, and I've found it much easier lately to just say 'thank you' to God for what I have, for getting through each day and having good days and not getting angry when something goes wrong or being scared when something bad happens. I have an...unpleasant 'relationship' with my mother's second husband (*ex* husband, I should point out for those who might not know). Basically I would be pleased if I never heard from him again. I don't fear him any more and I don't hate him any more (go team!) but I also don't want him in my life. He's recently started calling for me at work and I've spoken to him each time because otherwise he just keeps calling.

And you know, I was able, when he said that 'I'm going to be in a place that's good for me and I hope that you'll be in a place that's good for you' to respond 'Insha'Allah.' (I find that some things are better expressed in Arabic, okay? I can't quite explain to you the difference between insha'Allah and 'God willing' in my head except that perhaps I said 'God willing' so many times without meaning that it's impossible for me to take it seriously in my own mind. Insha'Allah carries none of that baggage for me. Or maybe I've just been reading too many Islamic posts/books lately.) I want us both to be in places that are good for us, the difference is that he thinks that's a place that can include us both and I know that that's not so.

I'm hardly saying that I don't grouse mentally when things go wrong (like the fact that our yard is so flooded I can't shower or do laundry or reliably flush a toilet) or that I don't ask God for things. I pray that each day is a good day, that I have the strength to get through anything that comes my way and I ask for God's help with that. But I don't try and bargain any more. And I do my best to remember to thank God that I have a house that's not an inch deep in water at the moment and that I have places that I can go to to do my laundry and take my shower and that I have toilets that *do* flush if treated gently.


  1. How interesting that your mom's ex-husband has been calling you. I thought he was long gone out of your life. I know it's horribly uncomfortable for you, but I am in awe of your graciousness towards him (or that's what I picked up from this post).

    I think I understand what you mean about the difference in "God willing" and "Inshallah" for you at this point.

    I really enjoyed this post. I've missed my dose of Amberness, but I know you are busy. Glad you are liking your new job!

    1. I thought he was long gone out of our lives too. But he's bipolar (untreated) and every couple of years he thinks that everything is 'better' and that we've all forgotten everything that ever happened. *shrug*

      I explained what was happening to my new boss and he's offered to take any future calls, which is nice but not necessary. He said that he's never been in a situation like mine, and he doesn't know that he could forgive someone like the ex-stepdad. I tried to explain that it's not about forgiving, so much as it is that I refuse to let him define any part of my life any more. I've been angry, I've been scared, and now I just want to live a decent life.


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