Sometimes the Only Thing You Can Say Is ……

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…… shit happens.

That’s all I’ve got right now.
It has happened before in my life.
It is happening now.
It will happen again.

The one thing I’ve known for almost 10 years is this:
there are worse things that could happen.

The home I moved to Waco from is flooded.
Thank you, Harvey.
You suck.

There’s nothing I can do right now.
I can’t get in. Lots of people can’t get out.
My friend who rents this home from me had to swim out of the house with her son and two dogs.
In over 5 feet of water.
I am beyond thankful that they are safe.

Yes, I’m grateful.
But I also have a confession to make.
And it won’t be popular.
So if this offends you, I’m sorry.
It’s just my reality.
Which changed dramatically on December 18, 2007.

I’ve been on Facebook almost constantly since Harvey hit Houston. It was the only way to keep up in real time with my friends and neighbors in my community.
It was hard to keep looking at the growing devastation, but it was necessary, too.
The rain has finally stopped, but they’re still letting water out of the lakes and reservoirs, which is what caused the flooding in that area. So it might get worse before it gets better.
There is a long, long road ahead for so many of my friends.

So here’s my confession:
I tend to cringe every time I read a post from someone whose house stayed dry that says, “God is so good!”
It’s not that I don’t believe that God is good.
I do.
But I don’t believe God spared one house over another.
I believe that shit happens.
And sometimes …… it doesn’t.

I know that people who write that don’t mean to insult anyone whose house flooded.
But, in my opinion, it is an insult.
My house was flooded.
Does that mean God wasn’t good to me?
Does that mean that God was upset with me?
Does it mean that you’re more faithful/religious/better than I am?
Does it mean that you’re a better prayer than I am?

I don’t believe for one minute that you think that.
But it feels that way.
Just as it feels that way when someone claims God/prayer saved their loved one through an accident/illness/catastrophe …… but didn’t save mine.

I don’t believe that God brought Harvey to us.
I don’t believe that God spared your house because you prayed for him to do so.
Thousands of praying people lost their homes and/or belongings.
Many praying people lost their loved ones in this storm.

I don’t believe in a God who cherry-picks whom to help.
I don’t believe in a God who gives us what we ask for, like Santa.
I don’t believe that prayers are granted because you prayed harder.

I believe in a God who loves us, no matter what.
I believe in a God who is sad when tragedy occurs.
I believe in a God who will carry us through the darkness.
But we have to go through it.

And I believe that shit happens.

13 thoughts on “Sometimes the Only Thing You Can Say Is ……

  1. JANICE HEIDT

    Thank you for saying it. My Corpus Christi friend had to evacuate, but then Harvey turned and smacked Houston, and she’s all over Facebook with blessing Jesus for sparing Corpus, and I can barely hold back from asking WHAT ABOUT HOUSTON? Houston is where my whole family lives, and they are lucky, but the idea that Jesus spared Corpus Christi and aimed that hurricane at Houston is almost more than I can bear. So thank you for saying what I am feeling.

    Reply
  2. Mollie Baney

    Well said! Shit does happen! I just got off the phone with a friend of my late husband’s who lives in the Kingwood area. I haven’t talked to him since right after Dave died over 10 years ago. He said that the flood is worse than anything you’ll ever see on tv. So sorry that you have had to endure this. You have been in my thoughts and prayers as well. Take care!

    Sincerely,
    Mollie Baney

    Reply
  3. Lily F

    Janine I couldn’t agree more. I made a similar (though much less dramatic post) a few months ago. God is good. Period. Even if he doesn’t choose to keep your house water free. He still loves you. He still is for you. I’m sure I’m not even saying it right, but you have been to hell and back. I believe that God has held you each and every step of the way. I love you my friend. And it’s because I know that shit happens that I can live God even more…because he doesn’t abandon us in the shit.

    Reply
  4. Harriet Harrison

    Oh thank you for saying that, Janine. I have lived with people preaching the god thing to me for so many years. I have a 41 year old daughter with multiple disabilities. For years I have heard everything from God doesn’t give us anything more than we can bear, to God chose me to me Sara’s mom, so that I could be a better person…..so does that mean that Sara was born specifically to me to make me better while she has a less than ideal life? Just why would God do that to Sara? Life just happens, and I do believe that there is a higher power, but what happens to us as individuals is just the way life goes. No one is choosing to save one house and destroy another….to make one life good and someone else’s full of hardship or despair. Good on you for speaking out, Janine!

    Reply
  5. Jill P.

    I was wondering about your house because I knew from your last post that you still had it and I remembered it was Houston. I am so sorry. I feel like as widows we have been through enough and should be spared but I know that is not how it works at all. The whole “God is good” is a huge pet peeve of mine. After my husband was killed, in my early grief, I called out a couple of people on that on Facebook, but I don’t anymore. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can be so simple minded in the world we live in.

    Reply
  6. Linda Jones

    I live in Houston on lake Houston. It will take years for this city to recover. Water came to my door then receded. Most of my neighbors were not so lucky. My house just happens to sit a little higher and a few inches further back from lake. That’s what saved me. That’s all it was. Luck! Through the whole ordeal all I could think of was…. this is not the worse thing that ever happened to me. That was 8 years ago. Now it is time to move forward and help the people around us get back on their feet. People also need to remember that Houston wasn’t the only city hit by this storm
    Linda Jones

    Reply
  7. Frances Rubin

    Yes! I hate “Gd is good” when referring to someone’s good fortune. I’m grateful as I can be that my house didn’t flood. Who am I grateful to? I really don’t know. If I’m grateful to Gd then it follows that I’m so angry at and hateful of Gd for giving my husband brain cancer. And for making him die at on 57. And what about my daughter who died from a heart defect? Who do I see about that?

    Reply
  8. Paula

    Amen Janine, Amen! I do believe that God is Love and does not pick and choose. I’ve thought about you a lot lately knowing you still had the home in Houston. I’m so glad your friend was able to get out safely. Shit does happen and unfortunately it always will…..

    Reply
  9. Robin C.

    I’m so sorry to hear that your house flooded but grateful to know that your tenants got out safely. This hurricane has wreaked havoc in such a wide area, and it is truly heartbreaking to know that so many have lost all they own as well as loved ones. It is hard to absorb what has occurred and to fully grasp the magnitude of the sorrow and devastation.

    Reply
  10. Sharon Ellis McCuistian

    I’m so sorry to hear about your house in Houston!! I feel the same way you do about the “God is good” phrase. I always want to comment back, “If you hadn’t gotten the good report, would God not have been good?” I agree with you that people don’t mean it is a harsh way. But, as someone whose husband died, as someone who didn’t get the answer to prayer that I wanted, as someone who had something happen to me that I never in a million years wanted, to hear that phrase is like a punch in the gut. So I say to you today… Shit happens AND God is good!!!

    Reply
  11. Chris, who lurks

    I too have a hard time with that phrase. I am so sorry about your house, but I’m glad that you and your tenants are all safe.

    Reply

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