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More than You can Handle

Posted 6/22/2016

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  Fully appreciating that the sentiment is soothing and helpful for some people, the belief that "God never gives you more than you can handle" has always infuriated me. Every day I talk with people who absolutely are dealing with more than they can handle. If the evidence of their management is that they haven't (yet) jumped off the bridge, I suppose one could say that the statement is true. On the other hand, I witness plenty of feelings and problems and experiences that are overwhelming and painful and not amenable at all to management.

  Years ago in one of my support groups, someone said this phrase. Several other women in the circle seemed to nod in agreement, but one, who was a minister, jumped out of her chair in agitation to loudly proclaim: "That is just not true. God often gives people more than they can handle." The support from a woman of the cloth gratified me enormously and has helped me share her belief with others.

  This is an essay by Tog Notaro who also believes that God overdoes it sometimes. Here is the start and then a link to read more:

In the span of four months in 2012, comedian Tig
Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal
disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she
went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed
with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating
barrage, Notaro took her grief onstage. The set that
followed went viral instantly and was ultimately released
as her sophomore album, 
I once saw a video of someone crossing themselves as
they jumped from one of the Twin Towers before it
collapsed. And I was certain that, if there was a
"God," they must, occasionally, give people more
than they can handle.
I had heard the phrase "God never gives you more
than you can handle" my whole life and I believed it
in the same way I believed that when one door closes,
another one opens. But both of these truisms come up
short. What if you don't have a door, or what if you
do, but your door never fully opens?

Her memoir, I'm Just a Person, was published on June 14th.


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