A ham from God

Anne Lamott asks what to do about despair:

After we got off the phone, I ate a few birthday chocolates. Then I asked God to help me be helpful. It was the first time that day that I felt my prayers were sent, and then received — like e-mail. I tried to cooperate with grace, which is to say, I did not turn on the TV. Instead, I drove to the market in silence, to buy my birthday dinner. I asked God to help me, again. The problem with God — or at any rate, one of the top five most annoying things about God — is that he or she rarely answers right away. It can be days, weeks. Some people seem to understand this — that life and change take time — but I am not one of those people. I’m an Instant Message type. It took decades for Bush to destroy the Iraqi army in three weeks. Chou En-Lai, when asked, “What do you think of the French Revolution,” paused for a minute, smoking incessantly, and replied, “Too soon to tell.”

But I prayed: help me.

I flirted with everyone in the store, especially the old people, and I lightened up. When the checker finished ringing up my items, she looked at my receipt and cried, “Hey! Youve won a ham!”

I felt blind sided by the news. I had asked for help, not a ham. It was very disturbing. What on earth was I going to do with ten pounds of salty pink eraser? I rarely eat it. It makes you bloat.

“Wow,” I said. The checker was so excited about giving it to me that I pretended I was, too .

Wow! How great! Henny Penny! Henny Penny!

A bagger was dispatched to back of the store to get my ham. I stood waiting anxiously. I wanted to get home, so I could start caring for suffering people, or turn on CNN. I almost suggested that the checker award it to the next family who paid with food stamps. But for some reason, I waited. If God was giving me a ham, Id be crazy not to receive it. Maybe it was the ham of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
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