My sister came up to visit me the day after the election. Such good Bible-thumpin' times! I, in a misguided attempt to corral the vociferous "Obama is a RADICAL MILITANT MUSLIM" rants, tried, gently, to steer her into more neutral topics of conversation that wouldn't get us lynched by the lunch crowd at Olive Garden (the most liberal of all olive-centric eateries). I told her that such rhetoric is better stated a) before the election, and b) to someone who actually gives a crap what she thinks.
Lunch did not go well.
Although she believes my defense of Obama equates to dire peril for my eternal soul, she was persuaded to change the subject to my classes and how I was liking school. (If only she knew my professor is a Jewish lesbian who specializes in "ecoart"!) I told her it was going as well as could be expected, but that I will really be glad when it's done and I can focus on my future.
"Yeah," she said, "I really wanted to take some online courses so I could become a travel agent, but when I brought it up to the family, Austin (her 11-year-old son) told me I couldn't do that. When I asked him why, he said it was because then I wouldn't be there for him when he got home from school. So, I took that as a sign from God that it's not the right time to do something for myself just yet."
I smiled and nodded noncommittally. What else could I do in the face of such crazy? I love my nephew, but even on his best day, he doesn't really strike me as the conduit through which an all-powerful, omniscient deity doles out career advice. Nor do I think God really cares about whether she continues to stay home and coddle her mama's boy or spends a few hours a day bettering herself. He's probably a little busy planning an apocalypse or something.
Sadly, she's not the only nutjob in my family. My other sister believes God advises her on real estate. He told her He wanted her to have a more luxuriously appointed home in a posh neighborhood because she'd earned it with her good deeds.
No, I'm not joking.
I really don't know how I could have turned out so much differently than my brothers and sisters. We were raised to believe in God, and to seek His wisdom in everything, and I do have conversations with Him from time to time. Of course, mine are a little more one sided, and rarely involve payment for services rendered. No, I talk to God the way Mark Wahlberg talks to animals...
"Hey, God. How's it going? So, you're the Lord, huh? What's that about? Hey, thanks for all the cool stuff you do. Alright. Say hi to your mother for me."