If Heaven Was a Call Center

by | Nov 27, 2020

If Heaven Was a Call Center

by | Nov 27, 2020

God: Hi Mari. I see you in my cue. Is everything ok?

Me: No. I’m stuck in one of those negative thought spirals we talked about yesterday.  And last week.

God: Okay, Give me a minute to read my notes… So it looks like you are at Kroger and you are thinking about the time Ed didn’t give you a Valentine’s Day card. Is that right?

Me: Yes. So petty! What a jackass.

God: It looks like that happened in…2017. Is that right?

Me: Yes.

God: So three, almost four years ago.

Me: Right.

God: My notes say that this happened because of a fight you had the previous week? Does that ring a bell?

Me: You mean the one where I called him a waste of human tissue?

God: Yes. That one.

Me: Ya.

God: It says here that you guys made up the next day and that he told you he “regretted not getting you a card.”  It’s in quotes. Did he say that?

Me: Yes.

God: I see here that you also apologized to Ed & … Yes. He accepted your apology. That happened on February 15, 2017. I don’t see any activity on this call tag since then. I have dates and times logged for each apology and acceptance. Would that help?  

%

Of Americans Plan On Celebrating Valentines Day In 2021

%

Of Americans Buy Their Pet A Valentine's Day Gift.

%

Of The Time, Mari Should Not Call Ed A Waste Of Human Tissue

God: Hi Mari. I see you in my cue. Is everything ok?

Me: No. I’m stuck in one of those negative thought spirals we talked about yesterday.  And last week.

God: Okay, Give me a minute to read my notes… So it looks like you are at Kroger and you are thinking about the time Ed didn’t give you a Valentine’s Day card. Is that right?

Me: Yes. So petty! What a jackass.

God: Okay let’s see… It looks like that happened in…2017. Is that right?

Me: Yes.

God: So three, almost four years ago.

Me: Right.

God: My notes say that this happened because of a fight you had the previous week? Does that ring a bell?

Me: You mean the one where I called him a waste of human tissue?

God: Yes. That one.

Me: Ya.

God: It says here that you guys made up the next day and that he told you he “regretted not getting you a card.”  It’s in quotes. Did he say that?

Me: Yes.

God: I see here that you also apologized to Ed & … Yes. He accepted your apology. That happened on February 15, 2017. I don’t see any activity on this call tag since then. I have dates and times logged for each apology and acceptance. Would that help?

Me: No that’s okay. I know we forgave each other. I know you forgave me and I’m really thankful. I know this ticket has been closed. I’m so sorry.

God: It’s okay. You don’t have to hang up.

Mari: I’m so screwed up. We’ve been through this a MILLION times and I know that. Why do I circle back to these ugly memories?

God: I am looking at more details from today. It says that this spiral started at the Valentine’s Day card display there at Kroger, but I also see some notes about a baby picture, an empty mailbox, a box that says “Eggos”, and some… playground equipment? The dates are all over the place. This can’t be right.

Me: No that’s okay. I know we forgave each other. I know you forgave me and I’m really thankful. I know this ticket has been closed. I’m so sorry.

God: It’s okay. You don’t have to hang up.

Mari: I’m so screwed up. We’ve been through this a MILLION times and I know that. Why do I circle back to these ugly memories? 

God: I am looking at more details from today. It says that this spiral started at the Valentine’s Day card display there at Kroger, but I also see some notes about a baby picture, an empty mailbox, a box that says “Eggos”, and some… playground equipment? The dates are all over the place. This can’t be right.

Me: No it IS! When I saw the cards at Kroger, I thought of The Valentine’s Day fight, which reminded me of the time the house mother at Theta asked our parents to send baby pictures. When I went to the display to see mine, it wasn’t there. My parents never sent one! So lame.

God: That was…1985. So thirty-five years ago?

Me: Yes.

Me: And when I thought of the baby picture incident it made me think about going to the mailbox at IU with my roommate, Jennifer, so she could pick up a letter from her mom. Every. Day. I wanted to get something too, so I wrote my mom a letter and asked her to write back. She never did. Can you imagine blowing something like that off?  There must be a cactus where her heart should be.

God: Also in 1985.

Me: Yes.

Me: And last weekend when Jack was at Ball State visiting Betsy, I noticed that Ed was not making Sunday breakfast like he usually does. Then I realized that he must just do that for the kids, not me. That made me feel sad, and a little bit guilty because I never cook, and also hungry…

Me: My mom is so lame. Ed is too. And so are Jenny Peal and Amy McCurdy. They were super athletic and always the team captains at Wyandotte Elementary.

God: In 1977.

Me: Yes.

God: Forty-three years ago.

Me: Right. They used to pick me last for the kickball team at recess. They didn’t even pick me last. They just looked at me, Stacy Boelke, and Julie Weldy, and say, “You can have them.” I wasn’t even good enough to be picked last. I was LESS than last. What a couple of bioches!

God: Wow.

Me: I know.

Me: No it IS! When I saw the cards at Kroger, I thought of The Valentine’s Day fight, which reminded me of the time the house mother at Theta asked our parents to send baby pictures. When I went to the display to see mine, it wasn’t there. My parents never sent one! So lame.

God: That was…1985. So thirty-five years ago?

Me: Yes.

Me: And when I thought of the baby picture incident it made me think about going to the mailbox at IU with my roommate, Jennifer, so she could pick up a letter from her mom. Every. Day. I wanted to get something too, so I wrote my mom a letter and asked her to write back. She never did. Can you imagine blowing something like that off?  There must be a cactus where her heart should be.

God: Also in 1985.

Me: Yes.

Me: And last weekend when Jack was at Ball State visiting Betsy, I noticed that Ed was not making Sunday breakfast like he usually does. Then I realized that he must just do that for the kids, not me. That made me feel sad, and a little bit guilty because I never cook, and also hungry…

Me: My mom is so lame. Ed is too. And so are Jenny Peal and Amy McCurdy. They were super athletic and always the team captains at Wyandotte Elementary.

God: In 1977.

Me: Yes.

God: Forty-three years ago.

Me: Right. They used to pick me last for the kickball team at recess. They didn’t even pick me last. They just looked at me, Stacy Boelke, and Julie Weldy, and say, “You can have them.” I wasn’t even good enough to be picked last. I was LESS than last. What a couple of bioches!

God: Wow.

Me: I know.

God: You know this has nothing to do with Ed, your mother or Amy and Jenny, right? We’ve had these discussions before.

Me: I know. These things happened years ago. I have changed. They have changed. I forgave them, but now I’m mad again. It is ludicrous. I must be losing my mind. Mental illness runs in my family. So does suicide.

God: Stop. I say this because I love you. Just STOP.

Me: Why is my brain doing this?

God: Because being angry with them is better than the alternative.

Me: Which is?

God: Did you know that sadness, shame, anxiety, fear etc. often masquerade as anger? People use internal stories to turn sadness into anger toward a particular person because anger is easier to deal with. The other emotions are too painful. Look at the stories you pulled together. What is the theme?

Me: The theme is that I didn’t get “the thing”.

God: Which was?

Me: A place on the team, a card, a letter, a waffle.

God: And that made you feel –

Me: Forgotten. Embarrassed. Unlovable. Not enough. Too much.

God: So not angry with Ed or your mom?

Me: No.

God: Do you really think you are unlovable? Not enough? Too much?

Me: Every day.

God: Tell me the first thought you had when you saw Valentine’s Day cards at Kroger?

Me: That I should buy one for myself.

God: Why?

Me: In case Ed doesn’t get me one.

God: Why would he not get you one?

Me: Because I am a terrible wife. I bring chaos, drama, uncertainty etc.

God: Is that why he didn’t get you a card in 2017?

Me: No. 

God: You called him a waste of human tissue.

Me: Yes.

God: It wasn’t because he doesn’t love you.

Me: I Know.

God: And remember the fifth-grade talent show when you played the piano in 1977?

Me: Jenny and Amy clapped the loudest.

God: I remember. You weren’t pick “less than last” because they thought you were a failure as a person. Just a failure at kickball.

Me: Right.

God: Didn’t you tell me yesterday that you couldn’t sleep because you were feeling anxious about work and also guilty because you were rude to Ed last week when he bought Christmas tree lights that were LED?

Me: They looked blue.

God: I know. Right?

Me: So let me get this straight.  I came into Kroger already feeling anxious, ashamed and sleep deprived. I saw the Valentine’s Day card display which conjured up all of these old stories that I unconsiously and ever so slightly altered to support the belief that as a person I am flawed and unlovable. But because those emotions are too painful to process, I instantaneously spun the stories AGAIN to support a new, slightly less painful belief:  That my mom and my husband are assholes?

God: Your mind is a masterpiece.

Me: My mind is a dumpster fire.

God: I MADE your mind

God: You know this has nothing to do with Ed, your mother or Amy and Jenny, right? We’ve had these discussions before.

Me: I know. These things happened years ago. I have changed. They have changed. I forgave them, but now I’m mad again. It is ludicrous. I must be losing my mind. Mental illness runs in my family. So does suicide.

God: Stop. I say this because I love you. Just STOP.

Me: Why is my brain doing this?

God: Because being angry with them is better than the alternative.

Me: Which is?

God: Did you know that sadness, shame, anxiety, fear etc. often masquerade as anger? People use internal stories to turn sadness into anger toward a particular person because anger is easier to deal with. The other emotions are too painful. Look at the stories you pulled together. What is the theme?

Me: The theme is that I didn’t get “the thing”.

God: Which was?

Me: A place on the team, a card, a letter, a waffle.

God: And that made you feel –

Me: Forgotten. Embarrassed. Unlovable. Not enough. Too much.

God: So not angry with Ed or your mom?

Me: No.

God: Do you really think you are unlovable? Not enough? Too much?

Me: Every day.

God: Tell me the first thought you had when you saw Valentine’s Day cards at Kroger?

Me: That I should buy one for myself.

God: Why?

Me: In case Ed doesn’t get me one.

God: Why would he not get you one?

Me: Because I am a terrible wife. I bring chaos, drama, uncertainty etc.

God: Is that why he didn’t get you a card in 2017?

Me: No. 

God: You called him a waste of human tissue.

Me: Yes.

God: It wasn’t because he doesn’t love you.

Me: I Know.

God: And remember the fifth-grade talent show when you played the piano in 1977?

Me: Jenny and Amy clapped the loudest.

God: I remember. You weren’t pick “less than last” because they thought you were a failure as a person. Just a failure at kickball.

Me: Right.

God: Didn’t you tell me yesterday that you couldn’t sleep because you were feeling anxious about work and also guilty because you were rude to Ed last week when he bought Christmas tree lights that were LED?

Me: They looked blue.

God: I know. Right?

Me: So let me get this straight.  I came into Kroger already feeling anxious, ashamed and sleep deprived. I saw the Valentine’s Day card display which conjured up all of these old stories that I unconsiously and ever so slightly altered to support the belief that as a person I am flawed and unlovable. But because those emotions are too painful to process, I instantaneously spun the stories AGAIN to support a new, slightly less painful belief:  That my mom and my husband are assholes?

God: Your mind is a masterpiece.

Me: My mind is a dumpster fire.

God: I MADE your mind.

Me: So you are telling me that I walk around every day with this warehouse of stories. And even though they don’t represent reality to anyone but me, I rely on them for how I see myself and those around me?

God: Yes.

Me: And other people are doing the same thing. So when they are hurtful to me it really has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with them? Because they are viewing the world through faulty stories too?

God: Yes.

Me: But I don’t know this, so I will take that hurtful interaction, make it all about me, and take it into my future as another untrue story that I will keep in my warehouse and use to support the untrue feelings I have about myself and others on any given day?

God: Yes.

Me: Feelings that can’t possibly be trusted because they are driven by circumstances that can and will change at a moment’s notice?

God: Right.

Me: Shit.

God: I know.

Me: This is a nightmare.

God: No it’s not. Not if you know what’s really going on. In fact, the happiest people on earth are the ones who have embraced this truth. This knowledge gives them grace. Grace toward others and grace toward themselves. And it gives them power. Because the stories no longer have power over them.

Me: So what do I do with all of my stories? Some of them are glorious.

God: It’s not your stories that are the problem. It’s when the devil helps you spin them for his purpose. You know when that is happening. You knew it today. That’s why you called.

Me: I’m sorry I keep messing things up. I’m 53. I should know better.

God: I don’t understand the obsession you have with not making mistakes.

Me: Because every time I screw up I am reminded that I have no business representing you.

God: Peter was a train wreck and I still used him.

Me: I LOVE Peter.

God: Ya. Peter’s my man. He’s standing right here.

Peter: Hi Mari.

Me: Peter! 

God: Dude denied me THREE TIMES…

Peter: Awkward.

God: Ya. But you really rang the bell when you had them crucify you UPSIDE DOWN!

Peter: Like a boss.

Me: But you know EVERYTHING about me. Every wrong thing I have ever done. The blackness of my soul is apalling.

God: It’s true. You are a piece of work.

Me: I know.

God: My work. I know everything about you. Why do you think you can shock me when I know you better than you know yourself? I know that you put window boxes on every house you own because you saw it in a movie when you were 19.  I know that you like all of the downstairs lights on when you decorate for Christmas because when you were little, and your mom was depressed, the house was dark. But during the years she was happy all the lights were on and she sang “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.”

I know that you climb into the middle of the pine trees in your yard at night with your iphone. I was there all those times you bought things you couldn’t afford because you wanted people to think you were more successful than you were. I know that you go for walks around the block in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep and get into the crawl space of your house to watch movies on your laptop. I love how you stand in the street with an umbrella and a camera waiting for a rainbow. I know that your favorite Little House episode is the one where Tinker, the deaf mute, makes a school bell for Walnut Grove. I know everything about you. And I’ll tell you this, child. You are a wonder.

Me:

God: Mari?

Me:

God: Are you crying?

Me: So you are telling me that I walk around every day with this warehouse of stories. And even though they don’t represent reality to anyone but me, I rely on them for how I see myself and those around me?

God: Yes.

Me: And other people are doing the same thing. So when they are hurtful to me it really has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with them? Because they are viewing the world through faulty stories too?

God: Yes.

Me: But I don’t know this, so I will take that hurtful interaction, make it all about me, and take it into my future as another untrue story that I will keep in my warehouse and use to support the untrue feelings I have about myself and others on any given day?

God: Yes.

Me: Feelings that can’t possibly be trusted because they are driven by circumstances that can and will change at a moment’s notice?

God: Right.

Me: Shit.

God: I know.

Me: This is a nightmare.

God: No it’s not. Not if you know what’s really going on. In fact, the happiest people on earth are the ones who have embraced this truth. This knowledge gives them grace. Grace toward others and grace toward themselves. And it gives them power. Because the stories no longer have power over them.

Me: So what do I do with all of my stories? Some of them are glorious.

God: It’s not your stories that are the problem. It’s when the devil helps you spin them for his purpose. You know when that is happening. You knew it today. That’s why you called.

Me: I’m sorry I keep messing things up. I’m 53. I should know better.

God: I don’t understand the obsession you have with not making mistakes.

Me: Because every time I screw up I am reminded that I have no business representing you.

God: Peter was a train wreck and I still used him.

Me: I LOVE Peter.

God: Ya. Peter’s my man. He’s standing right here.

Peter: Hi, Mari.

Me: Peter! 

God: Dude denied me THREE TIMES…

Peter: Awkward.

God: Ya. But you really rang the bell when you had them crucify you UPSIDE DOWN!

Peter: Like a boss.

Me: But you know EVERYTHING about me. Every wrong thing I have ever done. The blackness of my soul is apalling.

God: It’s true. You are a piece of work.

Me: I know.

God: My work. I know everything about you. Why do you think you can shock me when I know you better than you know yourself? I know that you put window boxes on every house you own because you saw it in a movie when you were 19.  I know that you like all of the downstairs lights on when you decorate for Christmas because when you were little, and your mom was depressed, the house was dark. But during the years she was happy all the lights were on and she sang “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.”

I know that you climb into the middle of the pine trees in your yard at night with your iphone. I was there all those times you bought things you couldn’t afford because you wanted people to think you were more successful than you were. I know that you go for walks around the block in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep and get into the crawl space of your house to watch movies on your laptop. I love how you stand in the street with an umbrella and a camera waiting for a rainbow. I know that your favorite Little House episode is the one where Tinker, the deaf mute, makes a school bell for Walnut Grove. I know everything about you. And I’ll tell you this, child. You are a wonder.

Me:

God: Mari?

Me:

God: Are you crying?

Me: My favorite verse is the one that says you rejoice over me with singing.

God: I do. I know you love it because you used to sing songs over your own children when they were babies. And I know you miss those times so much.

Me: And the one that says you are doing a new thing. That you are making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

God: It’s true. I am doing that very thing.

Me: I know. And I’m sorry. Because I know we will probably have to have this conversation again.

God: We will. And I look forward to it.

Me:  But for today – I really do get it.  No matter what I’ve done…there is hope. No matter how bad life is right now…there is hope. No matter how hopeless I might feel…there is hope. You do your best work in what appear to be hopeless situations. I know you are writing a story with my life and I trust you. I won’t lose hope. I will cling to grace. Thank you. I love you.

God:

Me: God?

God:

Me: Are you Crying?

Me: My favorite verse is the one that says you rejoice over me with singing.

God: I do. I know you love it because you used to sing songs over your own children when they were babies. And I know you miss those times so much.

Me: And the one that says you are doing a new thing. That you are making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

God: It’s true. I am doing that very thing.

Me: I know. And I’m sorry. Because I know we will probably have to have this conversation again.

God: We will. And I look forward to it.

Me:  But for today – I really do get it.  No matter what I’ve done…there is hope. No matter how bad life is right now…there is hope. No matter how hopeless I might feel…there is hope. You do your best work in what appear to be hopeless situations. I know you are writing a story with my life and I trust you. I won’t lose hope. I will cling to grace. Thank you. I love you.

God:

Me: God?

God:

Me: Are you Crying?

 

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