I can’t know for certain when it happened, but I’ve been cursed for going on ten months now.

It’s the little things that tipped me off. Attaching documents to my email became impossible, and I found myself suddenly blocked from accessing websites I’ve had bookmarked for months. One time, in order to upload a sermon from my church’s computer because our Dropbox account wasn’t working, I had to email two different versions to myself, download both several times, and even then, Squarespace suddenly stopped working for an afternoon.

The choices seemed clear: either the Russians bothered hacking [1] and/or blocking me personally from ministrymatters.com so that I couldn’t cite the New Interpreter’s Bible in the nightmare that is Turabian . . .

Or I was cursed.

In the past ten months, I’ve gotten an ear infection and the flu while traveling in Cambodia, a canker sore from trying to eat healthier, a torn a ACL (and the weekly PT to go with it), and ringworm. I even gave ringworm to my cats. And my husband.

And that’s just my physical well-being: my personal and professional lives have been, objectively speaking, a dumpster fire. The curse is ubiquitous. It is powerful.

If you’re cursed, you know what I’m talking about. But perhaps you’re just starting out on your journey. Perhaps you only recently became cursed, and if that’s the case I want to share my best advice for living under its threat:

1. Be the curse. There is an admirable and horrifying impulse in the human heart to pretend that life is okay when it is not. If you’re cursed: name it. Accept it. Live it. Explore what life is like as a cursed person instead of pretending to be what you are not.

2. Admit that the universe is fickle. When Job finally asks God the tough question, God doesn’t answer with an explanation. God doesn’t offer a reason for the curse. God shows off his creation, a masterpiece of stars, weather patterns, and beasts like the leviathan. God paints a picture of the wild authenticity of life and reminds Job that he gets to be a part of that insanity. He doesn’t get to control it.

3. Keep your eyes up and open. There is no shame in struggle, but there are many choices. At some point, you will face the choice between looking down at your feet or up into someone else’s eyes. It is always better to look up. It’s amazing the things you can see in those around you when you’re at your lowest point.

4. Don’t let the Russians get you down. Pick your news story—they all suck. But they are also, when put in their proper context, a little hilarious. Embrace dark humor and have a laugh at the expense of things far away from your personal sphere of influence. Find meaning in that which is close to your heart and far, far away from Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

 

[1] No, I don’t understand this term. No, I’m not sorry about that. I pick my battles with technology very selectively.

Elaine Schnabel
After graduating from Purdue University with an MA in communication, Elaine Schnabel moved to Indianapolis where she rolls her eyes at the electoral map while earning her MA in theology at Fuller Seminary (online). She works a variety of part time jobs and, if invited to, she will talk about her cat for hours. She dreams of being a writer, a researcher of religious communication, and a professional soccer player.

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