I meant to go on watching “He Gets Us” clips but I had one of those days where…well, it was The Usual Tuesday where I careen from one thing to another trying not to forget my phone and keys. But I’ve been also watching those ‘Day in the Life of a now-fired Google Employee’ and amusing myself by pretend narrating my deep thoughts in that singsong uptalking kind of way. ‘Here I am with my half-cold cup of tea that I forgot to drink. Here I am rifling through a pile of laundry that I didn’t have time to fold. Here I am standing in front of the fridge feeling sad about eating another stupid carrot and Not eating a bowl of pasta because even though I don’t want to look like a now fired 25-year-old google employee, I also don’t want to get any bigger than I already am. I am not trying to make myself small….well, maybe just a little smaller.’
ANYWAY, someone else beat me to the parody punch. That someone is Chelsea Handler. Here is where I would normally drop in the video and ask you to watch it. But I’m not going to do that, because it is excessively and needlessly profane. You can go watch it if you won’t be too shocked. She uses unpleasant language and she talks about sex in a stupid and dehumanizing way. I leave it to your own conscience and will basically describe what she says so you can spare yourself the click.
She begins by announcing that she will do”A Day in the Life of a Childless Woman” by smiling and waving. “I wake up at 6 am”–the alarm goes off. “I remember that I have no kids to take to school”–she sits in a silky bathrobe drinking coffee and grinning. She pretend goes to Paris for a croissant. She pretend climbs Mount Everest. She pretend makes a time machine and shoots Hitler. All because she’s not burdened by children. She concludes, “It’s amazing what you can do when you have this much free time. And that’s a day in the life of a childless woman.” As Matt said after watching it, “Sounds like a lot of cope.”
In the middle, though, there is this fascinating observation that caught my attention because I just read Daniel 5 about Belshazzar who, unlike the former king, Nebuchadnezzar, did nothing to distinguish himself, but rather took the sacred vessels carried away from the Temple to drink wine to his pretend gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. The scriptures give this account of the outcome of his self-indulgence:
And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
The commentator I read had much to say about the unbearable lightness of Balshazzar’s life. He was “weighed” but there wasn’t anything there. There could have been a lot. He had all the earthly benefits of wealth, rank, education–everything he could possibly want to do something, anything really, with his life. Instead, he ate and drank “on the brink of the grave.” Ironically, Chelsea Handler says this about herself:
“The weightlessness of my existence has granted me superhuman powers.”
Oh darling–not superhuman, no. The weightlessness of your existence has produced nothing of substance. You have all that time. And what are you doing? Scoring off women who have chosen to have children? Using other people for sex? Tweeting?
So anyway, here is a day in the life of an ordinary Christian who is basically overwhelmed by the troubles of life:
4:30 Wake up suffocated by the cat who likes to sleep on my face. Take my thyroid pill. Panic about all the stuff I have to do. Flip open my phone to the Great Litany to pray for myself and the sins of the whole world, including, though it had not yet occurred to me, Chelsea Handler.
6 Get in the shower because Tuesday is my day to lead Zoom morning prayer. Indulge in a little “me-time” by putting on a pair of earrings and a big pair of socks to look cute for zoom and not freeze my feet off since I live in the unheated attic (my body my choice).
6:30 Read the lections for Morning Prayer and try to wildly learn something about St. Cyril and St. Methodius whose feast day it is. Longingly gaze at my half read copy of Black Lamb and Gray Falcoln. Am in the middle of reading about the Slavs and the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand and am absolutely rivetted by the writing of Rebecca West.
7 Lead morning prayer. Try not to tear up talking through the scene leading up to the reconciliation of Joseph with his brothers.
8 Wildly and hysterically blog about “He Gets Us.”
8:45 Run downstairs shouting at the kids to pick up the house and that their father and I will be back by noon as soon as Bible Study and Staff Meeting are over and to “Please, for the Love of Goodness, DO YOUR WORK.” Start the freezing car and wait for Matt to come flying down the stairs because he is always late on Tuesday because he also wakes up at 4:30 and does a lot of things.
9:05 Arrive late and stressed out to church. Listen to Matt work through the text about Jesus walking on the water and try really hard not to bring up The Chosen every few minutes.
10:15 Settle in for Staff meeting and sign up for a lot of extra jobs I don’t know how I will actually fit in but they need to be done. What are you going to do, just Not figure out how to feed everyone during the Annual Meeting?
12 Rush home and edit two children’s papers while Matt tears chicken off a carcass and invents a sauce.
1:30 Lunch–late again.
2 Read more papers. Read a snatch of Heavenly Participation. Text with literally Everyone. Write fifteen emails.
4 Try to force a child who has trouble focusing through some Latin Declensions. Fail. Utterly. Feel Deep Despair.
5 Remember I haven’t turned in my quarterly reports. Look at all the children’s grades even though I don’t want to. Feel ambivalent as usual. Wish they could go to school but remember that what we’re doing is basically fine and if God wanted us to do something different he would make a way.
5:45 Send a child off in the car to pick up another child. Discover when he is almost there that the child didn’t need a ride because she’s staying at school for some reason. Call the first child and apologize a lot.
6 Leap in the car to drive three children to dance while yelling at the one remaining child to please please please finish cleaning up the kitchen and not waste time because he has a whole lot of stuff due by the end of the week.
6:30 Drop the girls off, rush to Barnes and Noble to spend two hours with a friend working of the Children’s Department budget and figuring out how to buy all the stuff we want and need for the year.
8:30 Pick up all four girls, come home and discover that the church furnace has been “condemned” and that the church is going to be out a lot of money and maybe we won’t even be able to meet this weekend because it’s going to be icy cold even though it has been unseasonably warm for a whole week.
10:30 Collapse into bed and fall asleep over Black Lamb and Gray Falcon.
I provide all this dumb detail not to make you think that I’m a clever person. By no means. Rather, I would have you know that Chelsea Handler is squandering the great blessing of her own life. You don’t have to have children. You don’t have to solve world hunger. You don’t have to be thin and rich. You don’t have to do anything in particular. Rather, you do have to worship God–you have to. Otherwise, you will worship yourself. And you are not weighty enough an object to worship. You won’t last even as long as gold or silver. You are but dust, a breath, a sigh, and then you are gone. But God is a great God. In the final reckoning, the immense weight of his glory will satisfy all your longings. And one of the greatest treasures he gives you, when you worship him, is to be burdened with other people, to carry them along in your mind and in your heart and yes, sometimes, if you are a woman, in your body with you toward that better home.
Have a nice day!
Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash