A Vent About Faith

I got a text from my Mother In Law last week. She told me that doctors had discovered a small nodule on her lung, that she’d had chest x-rays and a CT scan done and that she had an appointment today with a lung doctor to discuss.

She may or may not know this, but I watched my maternal grandfather die from lung cancer. I was in the room as he drew his last breath, and it was horrible. There was nothing peaceful about it. It was that death, when I was barely 21 years old, that sent me reeling and onto a path that eventually led to the UPC. So all of this was before I ever met her son and of course her.

So we’ve been worried, and of course were anxiously awaiting word today from her appointment. Instead, I got another text from her telling me she had to miss the appointment because she didn’t have the $50 copay. I was more than a little upset, and told her so. Why on earth would you do that? You know good and well I can and will pay the $50 for you without a second thought. If this nodule were to be cancerous time is of the essence. You don’t need to postpone these things!!!

Her reply? “I know, but I feel like everything is going to be alright.”

When I repeated this conversation to my husband, his words were, “Bless her heart and her faith.” He, too, nudged her – much more gently than I – that there’s nothing wrong with going to the doctor to “confirm” her feeling that all will be well. (As I’ve mentioned, he’s still very much the fundamentalist Christian, UPC member. He still doesn’t know that I’m at home casting circles and burning candles and praying to goddesses and hugging trees. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation?)

Meanwhile, I’m pulling my hair out. I love my Mother In Law, she’s the sweetest lady. I’ve written about her recently, how she’s not the type to shove her beliefs down anyone’s throat or treat you any differently if you don’t share her convictions. In fact, another of her daughters-in-law has a sister in a lesbian relationship. She’s had both women in her home, cooked for them, and recently sewed some curtains for the home they share. She does, however, make comments to my son that we laugh about – calling the girlfriend “wife” even tho they’re not married. More from genuine lack of knowledge than any type of disparagement. She will pray quietly for them and never, ever, do anything to make them uncomfortable.

But she could very well be letting her faith kill her right now. Well, that and her stubborn refusal to ask for help when she needs it.

Besides that, she’s undoubtedly given well over $50 to the local United Pentecostal Church this month. She’s a faithful tithes payer, and while this is not something we’d ever discuss it’s part of the teaching that you give above your 10% – a tithe is just be baseline, the absolute least you can do. It’s fulfilling an obligation. It’s only when you give beyond it that you get the blessings of giving, that it counts as an offering. The more sacrificial, the more blessings. So I’m sure she gives more than she can really afford.

And then has to postpone vital doctor appointments because she doesn’t have the copay.

But that’s ok because she has faith. My grandfather had faith, too, and he died 23 years ago. Millions of people with faith die every day. Does that give you a license to be irresponsible? Or how about this – why make it harder on your god? Maybe he was going to use the doctor and early detection to MAKE it ok. Now he’s got to come up with Plan B.

Sigh. OK, that’s all for my vent. Thanks for listening.


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