Who I am

Maybe I’m selfish and maybe I talk too much or maybe I don’t keep secrets and promises well enough. Maybe I’m at my weakest now, or maybe I’m at my strongest. Maybe (like everyone says) this chapter of my life will seem insignificant someday, but I don’t think so.  I’m trying, and I’m failing, and I’m flailing about, maybe not accomplishing anything other than to make some waves…waves that I don’t want to make. Maybe I’m thinking too much, because I have the time. Maybe I’m too impulsive, or too pushy, and maybe I hurt more people than I help. Don’t try and tell me otherwise. I didn’t write this post so you would tell me I’m wrong. To be human is to be deeply flawed, and not always beautifully so. Often my flaws are ugly, and everyone knows I’m no good at hiding things. I’m not even good at hiding the ugly parts of me.

I know less now than I ever did. For instance, I don’t understand how it is fair that I came into a Christian family. People are shaped so deeply  by the circumstance of their childhoods. If I had grown up in his or her shoes I would be just as against Jesus. Who we are is so complicated, and the gospel is so simple. How is it fair to judge people by that one choice when their reasons for making that choice, the things that shaped their perception and worldviews, were in the hands of God? I don’t know. I don’t get it.

Maybe I complain too much. Who am I to complain? I live in America the home of the free. I have so much, yet I say that my life is in shambles. It sure feels that way. When it rains it pours, and it’s pouring on me, something new and stressful every day. But someone always has it worse. Maybe I’m not thankful enough. People I know don’t like who I’m becoming–pessimistic, critical, melancholy. No one wants to be around someone like that. I get that. But sunshine and rainbows seems very trite right now. I don’t really want to be happy.

I ask for truth. Maybe I ask for more than truth. I’m told I push too much. I care. I don’t mean to hurt people. I don’t mean to be this way. Sometimes I would like to be in a coma, oblivious. I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of failing over and over. Hurt me, be honest with me, tell me what you don’t like about me. Even if it hurts me, even if it kills me, I still want that. I still want to see peoples’ souls. I want to understand. Not because I can fix it, not because I know all the answers, just because. That is who I am. Maybe who I am hurts who he is and who she is. I don’t know. I don’t know much of anything anymore.

 

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Categories: My Life, rants | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Who I am

  1. “Maybe (like everyone says) this chapter of my life will seem insignificant someday” No doubt such is uttered by people with the best intentions but it is both untrue and unkind. Nobody should dismiss a time or event in life with the statement that it is insignificant. Everything in our lives is significant, down to the smallest struggle, the lightest burden. Everything is profoundly significant.

    Being an encouragement someone in their struggle does not mean trivialzing their struggle. I’m sorry people have said such things which tried to make little of this struggle you face.

    “People I know don’t like who I’m becoming–pessimistic, critical, melancholy. No one wants to be around someone like that. I get that. But sunshine and rainbows seems very trite right now. I don’t really want to be happy.” Been there. Still there in some measure. Death changes your outlook on life, and if we are learning it is for the wiser.

    But people don’t like grieving people. People don’t like grief. They want to slap a fix, a smiley face, onto every problem. Grief makes people uncomfortable.

    People who are grieving are not a joy to be around. When in the depths of grief a person is not optimisitc, easy-going, and happy. Pessimistic, critical, and melancholy are threads of grief. They are not pleasent. They don’t make us happy. They do not make other people happy. And when we are grappling with that tidle wave of dark things, we can’t support other people and give them cheery words. When we are in that crucible of grief, we need support. And that is when a lot of people find they don’t like supporting a greiving person who is pessimistic, critical, and melancholy. They’d rather go watch a funny movie.

    So, yeah, a lot of people aren’t going to like what you are right now–nobody wants to be around that. But people who are true friends will stick with you through that, they will be there to support you even though it isn’t fun and you’re not a cheery ray of sunshine. Sadly, you will find that there are not many people willing to walk that path.

    Recently someone who is in the beginning of their journey facing grief said this to me, “Throughout this process which is just beginning, it has been pretty easy to pick out the people around me who’ve done grieving of their own. In a quiet way, they simply understand.” I thought that a very astute observation and, unfortunately, there are not many who simply understand.

    Grief is something we must go through, but it does change us. When our flesh is wounded it leaves a scar in healing. Likewise, now your heart has been wounded and it will never go back to being what it was before. There will always be a “scar.” For the worse, or the better? Who is the judge?

    “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting […] Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure” (Ecclesiastes 7:2.3-4) I will not spend time today parsing the deeply puzzling aspects of what is said there, but it sounds like people are telling you to get out of the house of mourning and into the house of laughter. Is that wisdom they are speaking? Better instead to seek what wisdom God would have you find in the house of mourning where you currently dwell. Only then you will see the right door that leads to a house of better life rather than the house of pleasure.

    Be careful about what other people want. Perhaps they prefer the shallow and glib person they used to see in you. Maybe maturity and greater wisdom isn’t so fun, and so people call it “pessimissm, criticalness, and melancholy.” Peter certainly thought Jesus was getting a little too much on of pessimissim and melancholoy with all the talk of being crucified and so told Jesus to shape up and get a little more cheerful. That earned the rebuke of “Get behind me Satan!” So be careful with uncritically accepting the complaints leveled against you. Are they speaking the truth of Jesus, or the attitudes of the world?

    I don’t say that to excuse you. As a sinner I have no doubt that you struggle with sinful attitudes and emotions. God knows I did in my grief. But, as you rightly say, “Who we are is so complicated” and if that is true than so also the melancholy, pessimism, and criticalness is more complicated than some simplistic “all bad.” Sure, not everything expressing itself in those emotions is good. But rather than just trying to wind back the clock of who you are to “before all that” the way forward is to find the truth in that melancholoy, pessimisim, and criticalness and sift the good from the bad.

    And sometimes growing up just isn’t what we thought it would be. Am I in the depths of the melancholy, criticalness, and pessimissm of the darkest days of grief? No, I was not left down there, thank God, but I must confess there is a shdow of melancholy and pessimissm that clings to me still and makes me long for a day when I might be finally free to dance in a field of flowers under a sun that knows no sorrow. But that washing clean from every stain of melancholy will not come in this life. And I can see how the melancholy I still carry, and the scars on my heart do equip me to minister to other people in ways I was not able before.

    The truth is, God is working in you. Through your suffering God is equipping you to bring healing to the nations. Does that make the suffering fun? No. But it is anything but meaningless or insignificant.

    ****

    I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
    I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
    Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
    They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
    I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

    The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
    it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
    (Lamentations 3:19-26)

    • Your comments lately have been deeply encouraging and heartening to me. I don’t really have many words to respond usually (this time is no exception), but thank you for your time. You are helping.

      • In grief I also had little words, so I don’t expect them from you. Truly, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent–and there is no shame in silence. But I do appreciate Your brief comment that what I am saying to you is of worth. Sometimes I think it would be better if I kept my mouth shut, so it is good to have the occassional reminder that someone is finding worth in what I have said.

        So I thank God that he has used my words of some benefit to you. If He is so gracious perhaps I will continue to have helpful things to give. It gives me encouragement to know that God has used the dark times in my life for good, giving me something to share with others. And it gives me hope that He is doing the same with you, that years down the road you will find yourself equipped with wisdom, kindness, and understanding you would not otherwise have possessed if you did not go through the storm you now suffer.

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