A Faint Patina of Tarnish

Oh this week is getting me down friends.  Tight finances, big car repairs and a thousand little things just like to pile up at the same time.  I know I’m not the only one out there; too many of my friends are going through the same things down to the tight budgets and never ending car woes.  I’m not alone and I know better than to think my problems are the worst out there.

It’s times like these that I imagine my own personal Screwtape or Crowley laughing with glee.  Crowley, a “demon” from the book “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman has a scene with fellow members of Hell in which they share the terrible things they’ve done that day.  The two demons who live outside the world relish in tempting a priest and a politician, claiming they’ll “have him” in 10 years or 5 years while Crowley, who’s realized that people will do quite enough on their own with his extra work, tied up a telephone line for forty-five minutes and let the people do the work.

What could he tell them? That twenty thousand people got bloody furious? That you could hear the arteries clanging shut all across the city? And that then they went back and took it out on other people? In all kinds of vindictive little ways which, and here was the good bit, they thought up themselves. For the rest of the day. The pass-along effects were incalculable. Thousands and thousands of souls all got a faint patina of tarnish, and you hardly had to lift a finger.” – Good Omens

I think of this part of the book whenever things start to get heavy.  How easy would it be to let this one moment of misfortune rule and take it out on my husband, my son or the random person at the store or on the road?  How many souls would get a “faint patina of tarnish” if I let these things control me like that.

After reading “Good Omens” and “The Screwtape Letters” I often wonder about these things.  If something hasn’t decided to take the Crowley route and just cause that faint crack in the pipe or that tiny miscalculation in the account and then just sits back and watch as we do the destruction for them.

So I’m stressed and worried.  Truth be told, I’ve already flipped out more than once because everything that’s happened in the last couple weeks; it really hasn’t been pretty.  I feel beat down and held down; frustrated that it feels like we’re never getting ahead and that life is going to be a series of just staying afloat.   I don’t handle that well, it’s called chronic anxiety and it’s not something I can just ignore or get over.

I’m trying to trust that everything will be okay, it’s hard.  I know that I’m letting things reap their own horrible benefits from my stress and worry and I know that after nights like last night I have that “faint patina of tarnish” and somewhere something is happy for it.

6 thoughts on “A Faint Patina of Tarnish

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  1. I think you guys are going through some of the same money woes as us. It's so stressful when we're just scrambling each month to try and make ends meet because of big expenses coming up. And we're trying to buy a house, so our savings being diminished is just that much more frustrating right now.

    It's so hard to trust God in these circumstances. I was wondering the same thing about getting ahead but then I was reminded of this part of the Our Father “give us this day our daily bread”. God promises to take care of us today. And he will in the future, but he will only show us what we need to do to get through today.

    It's been so frustrating to dig through savings, but we had the money to pay both the car bills. We're sitting here wondering how we're going to come up with that money for the house now that it went to the car. But God will take care of that when the time comes. We just have to trust.

    Praying for you! Money issues are so hard and can cause so much stress. Love that quote by the way. I totally took out some of my stress on my sweet little boy and my husband yesterday. Today is a new day though…right? lol

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  2. Faint patina of tarnish –I am going to have to remember this. I am terrible at letting things snowball and my family and strangers shouldn't have to be the recipients. My dad reminds me that we are instructed to not to worry about tomorrow, it will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.

    A wise young man once said “Jesus said he wants you to be happy. The monsters aren't going to get anybody” 🙂

    Praying for you, always.

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  3. I have a tense relationship with anxiety, as well. The single most helpful habit has been learning to repeat, “Jesus, I trust in You”. As many times as it takes for those words to sink in and bring peace.

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