My grandmother died last week, after years of ill health, and a week on a breathing tube following a stroke. Three feet of snow fell in Spearfish, and even more in other places. The cities are messy, their trees devestated, and their roads sloppy and ugly with dirty piles of slushy wet snow bedecked with splashes of back sludge from the streets. Power is still out for many. Thousands of carcasses of dead livestock ornament the prairie. Driveways are mud pits. Rain is coming this weekend. Three different people requiring two separate drives to Spearfish from retreat in Rapid City demanded my priestly attention. My pillows refuse to stop falling off of my bed into the gap between the wall and the mattress because these retreat center beds come without headboards. I cannot fix the hurt in my mother's heart at the loss of her mother. I cannot fix the hole left by expensive dead animals in my parishioner's corrall. I can't even fix this stupid bed!
And there is absolutely no one to blame...
"Curse God and die," Job's wife said. Jonah and Elijah prayed for death. Moses complained of a stiff-necked people, and the people complained because they had run out of leeks. Adam blamed it all on his wife. She blamed it on the serpent.
My dad claims it is the fault of the liberals. They blame it on George W. Everyone blames the schools, who in turn blame it on the parents. Parents are the product of their culture, for which I assign blame to the baby-boomers. They pass the buck to conservative religion.
And all the blaming gets us nowhere because no one person is directly at fault. My grandmother is still deceased. My mother is still sad. Dead livestock still litter the plains. The streets are still gross. Everything is vanity...
So, while it is my gut instinct to wave a big 'ol middle finger to the world, throw my phone off a bridge, and run away to a place where I can hide under a blanket, I guess maybe instead I will do what Jesus said I should do. I'll go to him whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light, and I'll pray that we find rest. I'll work at pulling the timber from my eye, and I will try to love God and neighbor.
Because trying to find someone to blame doesn't seem to get me anywhere.