I have paid attention to a lot of my life, for better and worse I’m able to recall many of these weird little moments that were seemingly insignificant in real time but somehow connected to significant events. For example, when I lived in Las Vegas in the early 2000’s I was talking with one of my neighbors about how we ended up on our respective career paths. For me, the turning point was when I was on my way to a deployment in 2001. The last person I needed to sign my out-processing checklist was this guy giving out phone cards. It was a Friday afternoon, he outranked me and was feeling extra chatty to my annoyance. In the conversation he asked me how I landed in my job at the time, which was bomb loading. Sensing it wasn’t what I was into he suggested I look into Government Contracting. I did, and that became my focus until I successfully cross trained into this field in 2006. Coincidentally, at my first base in this new field that he recommended, I saw him in the hotel I was staying at. He didn’t remember me, but my young mind wasn’t corrupted by alcohol consumption so I recognized him immediately. I thanked him for taking the time to speak with me that day because that conversation changed my life for sure. He then told me this particular day was his last in the Air Force, he had his retirement ceremony earlier and was going back home to South Carolina the next day. The woman I was talking to was amazed by this and shared her story.
To be clear, her story was significantly different than mine. She was a manager at a check cashing place in Las Vegas, but from a small town in Oklahoma, no diversity, and no excitement, and she was the wild child of her family. Upon graduating from high school, she decided to go to Las Vegas with her boyfriend at the time and they lived out of his car until they found jobs. They got a trailer, began building a life, a couple of kids until he chose drugs, and she chose to leave. From there she worked multiple jobs to provide and once her kids were out of the house, she felt a need to decompress…a lot. She became very promiscuous for a couple of years until she met a guy who was a manager at a pay day loan place she frequented. He hooked her up with a job at a check cashing place as repayment for some sexual things she did for him. At this point in her story, she paused to say with a smile, “God works in mysterious ways right” and I gave her the look Steph Curry gave the reporter when he called him Wardell…
As one could surmise from various subjects I’ve covered, I grew up around quite a few religious people. If I were a comedian, I would certainly dive deep into that bag of experiences because the various things attributed to God are wild as hell. The absolute joy of this saying is that anything goes, largely in part due to the catch all “God works in mysterious ways” saying. It is in my opinion the most legit saying of religious people. I use it, and I am not religious at all. I especially like to use it with religious people when they’re feeling a bit judgmental about my non-religious lifestyle. Doug, how do you expect God to bless you if you aren’t praising “him” and giving glory to God for what you do have. God works in mysterious ways my guy, have a blessed day.
People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.Isaac Asimov
The countless drug dealers and pimps that became preachers for whatever reason enjoy touching on their previous professions to highlight the mysterious ways in which God works. I’m cool with that, but honestly, it seems the most outrageous religious people find solace in that saying. The “sanctified” folks that otherwise would have nothing nice to say, will say it as the positive version of not saying anything at all, topped off with a little “well praise God, he saw you through it”. Now if you think it’s all good from there, you haven’t listened to church gossip, because though God works in mysterious ways, your past or present choices ain’t shit and you should know better…Amen. I’m having way too much fun writing this in the various voices of people I’ve heard over the years. I’ll skip over the other examples and get to my thoughts on this saying.
Just as good as cursing
I think this is likely the easiest saying to agree with of all the ones I’m thinking of. It implies that there is a lot of unknown out there and we don’t really know or need to know the rationale for everything. It implies this life is filled with imperfections and those imperfections are not the be all, end all for any of us. In essence, it’s an allowance for being human, it’s an explanation for random coincidences, it can be forgiving or passive aggressive, heartfelt, or sarcastic. If there were a four-letter word that could capture that same sentiment it would be considered a curse word…and I’d use it generously like the other multipurpose four-letter words I dabble in.
I love watching nerdy science stuff and documentaries, and in all of them I have a “how do you know” moment when they don’t preface it with “this is a theory”. The legitimate science people like Neil deGrasse Tyson typically specify whether something is a theory or scientifically proven. The guys on the Ancient Aliens series usually dive deep into their anal recesses and pull random ideas out and make entire episodes on something. Though entertaining, and in some cases possible, there is nothing to base faith in their words on. It is a very popular show based on “making some shit up” and is delivered in a manner that convinces skeptics and annoys scholars. Today, while watching an episode, I thought, what if these quacks have it right, and the scholars are wrong and too rigid to find reality in these wacky theories? This idea was funny to me because if it is the case, then God works in very mysterious ways.
Love that look on Steph’s face. 🙂
I enjoyed this post, Doug. Lots of good points. Sometimes I get mad at the “mysterious ways” God sends my way.
Another favorite of mine … God’s ways are not our ways. I’ve gotten some mileage out of that one!