It’s almost my birthday month and I will again ask my beloved husband for a Shewee (the original female urinating device). The dog made fun of me today after a long, cold hike when I tried to stand back up after squatting. Leg muscles don’t always work like I want them to.
But, my husband knows me well and is aware that I’m slightly obnoxious. I would abuse the new found freedom of peeing while standing up and it would embarrass the family and possibly get me arrested.
So, he suggested a puppy.
I immediately said something like, “hell no.” We have lots of life in the next six months without a puppy in the mix.
I’m guessing in his mind a puppy might make me cry less when I think of my sweet companion Cassie having cancer.
And it might, but I’ve observed grief enough to know that relationships are not replaceable and sometimes you have to live with a hole before you start a new relationship so you’re not trying to shove a substitute into a black hole.
That’s what makes me angry about the book of Job in the Bible. I don’t mind the whole wagering by God and Satan over a man’s life and faithfulness. I get that it’s a wisdom book and a theological wrestling with why bad things happen to good people.
The part that really bugs me about Job at the end: “And the lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the lord gave Job twice as much as he had before … After this Job lived 140 years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.”
Why would any wisdom writer think this makes everything OK? Job had every relationship wiped out and all of his children killed, but don’t worry because he gets twice as much back.
If you’ve ever lost someone you love, then no matter how many loves you have after, there is always a catch in your throat. Once you have lost something you love you know life is vulnerable. For every child of every generation, Job held his breath when a storm came through wondering if they would all be wiped out, too.
We don’t replace relationships. We celebrate and grieve them, we keep carrying from them what we can and we take the risk to have new ones.
Which is why for this birthday, I’m ready for a Shewee, but not a puppy.
• Tari Stage-Harvey is pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.