Thursday, March 21, 2013

Judith Martin May Actually Have Covered This Situation

So one thing that happened during all those dark winter weeks that I wasn't blogging was this:

I came back home mid-morning on a day when Fabienne, my Hungarian gal, was here cleaning my house. I'd been out when she arrived, so she was going about her business when I came in. We met in the kitchen and had a brief catch-up. How are you, how are the kids, etc.

It had been a tough couple of weeks, she said. Her boys had colds. And, she said, "The worst was that I had the flu, but it was because I was disobedient to God."

Now, Reader, setting aside for a moment the urgent theological/doctrinal issues invoked, and asking only as a point of good manners, when someone dangles something like that in front of you, are you or are you not on firm ground in responding, "WHAT DID YOU DO?"


I mean, surely one doesn't bring up her own disobedience to God unless she wants to do more than lightly touch upon it?

I already knew Fabienne to be a very, very sincere believer and a devout practitioner of her brand of Christianity. She is part of an evangelical community up the road a bit, and she works many volunteer hours manning the prayer room at her church, like an on-call prayer partner for walk-ins. She didn't get a Christmas tree this year because she has been studying these things and has become convinced that it's if not actually idolatrous, then a Christmas tree is definitely a distraction from the main event. So, okay, here we have very serious, very devout Fabienne. In no way did I want to say, "What in the sweet world are you talking about?"

I mean, Jesus wept!

Like, for real, he did.

But back to etiquette.

The first thing I said was, "So God made you sick?" It came out as more of a pointed question, but I meant it as just a request for clarification. Like, who the what now? She half-quoted from scripture but it went by me because it seemed fearfully out of context. I tried to look comprehending. And then I said, "Oh, well, that's why I got a flu shot." Which I just blurted out. And then talk turned to other things. But I also didn't want to shut her down because, I dunno, every word in her declaration could mean something different to her than it does to me, and I always want to leave these avenues open for future exploration. If that makes any sense.

So that was a social moment that happened. In the Choose Your Own Adventure version of this scene, what conversational choices would you have made? I am sure my sister would have whipped a preachable moment out of her back pocket and it would have amazing.

I, though, am still curious about this disobedience.


Keely said...

Yes. Dying to know what happened there.

Me being the heathen that I am, I would have gone with "Who the what now?" as an actual response, and probably lost another housecleaner.

Erika W said...

Another good reason to get a flu shot.

AlGalMom said...

I love the image of defending oneself against God's wrath with a flu shot.

It makes me sad that she believes God punishes people like that. I think I would have tried to disabuse her of that notion....Jesus said something along the lines of "God makes the sun shine on good and evil alike," didn't He?

Now I'm totally curious, though, about what sin is punishable by the flu. There's a motherload of British sketch comedy in that.....

Elizabeth said...

What the evangelical Christians have done to the Hispanic community here in Los Angeles is reprehensible to me, perpetuating ignorance in the name of Jesus and the Bible. My babysitter's daughter once came to me and asked my advice. She was nineteen and having terrible stomach/uterine pain, and the doctor wanted to do a vaginal exam. She refused because she didn't want the doctor to break her hymen and therefore take away her virginity. I gently told her that she was an educated young woman and a vaginal exam was not like intercourse and that she owed it to her fellow women to educate herself and strengthen herself, yada yada yada. I'll shut up, now, because evidently hordes of people flock from the Catholic to the evangelical churches (our of the frying pan and into the fire).

Star said...


Amy said...

People have all kinds of wacky ideas. Hmmm, I'd have to know more about what she said for her reasonings to know how I would've responded. But maybe something like, "Wow, Fabienne, if God responded to our mistakes by making us sick, we'd all be dead by now." This said with a good natured laugh/wink combo. (It's my signature move but you can use it.)

But yeah, I totally would've been like, "whoa, what did you do?" Sometimes people interpret natural consequences as God's deliberate action. And lol to your flu shot remark!! You shoulda been all, "We'll that's why I never sin!'

Camp Papa said...

Following her conclusion to it's logical headwaters, all health care is an attempt to thwart the will of God, isn't it? Paging Mary Baker Eddy!

The Bug said...

I was doing fine until you said "Oh, well, that's why I got a flu shot." Then I very nearly spit oatmeal all over my keyboard. And here I am at work trying to pretend to be all serious. That's what I get for reading blogs at work. I'll probably get the flu now.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

Dying to know. Really. You must get to the bottom of this. I actually have a friend who made her daughter write an apology letter to Jesus one time when she lied. Do you think it was something like that?

Beth said...

Here's that comment I tried to leave a week ago:

I have to know what she did, too, but I suspect that moment has passed.

Our housekeeper is a devout Catholic (from Mexico), and sometimes her daughters come with her. One of her daughters (18 years old) told me once how her mom heard one of her Mexican Christian radio stations talking about how Hello Kitty is a devil-worshipping symbol, and now she's terrified of it (the mom, not the daughter). It's interesting, these superstitions.

I am not remotely religious but I can't have the radio volume or the car temperature setting on anything that isn't an even number, unless it ends in a 5. For reals.

I'm so behind on my SubMat reading!