Smog

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Sometimes I don’t think that I have any original thoughts left. I spend all day every day saturated in everyone’s ideas and
opinions and struggles and art. I drive home in the middle of January with the window down singing to others’ lyrics to sooth my soul, and I pin a pin on Pinterest that says one original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings. Ironic, right?

Sometimes I think I’m too comfortable in my life. I go to work, come home, sleep, go to work again. I’m in yet another rut–seems like I leave one just to get stuck in another. That’s not all that uncommon in this winter weather, I suppose. But that’s the problem, I used to be uncommon, but I don’t feel like I’m uncommon anymore. Navigating life is thousands of times harder than navigating winter roads, (which I’ve been mostly ok at doing so far) and I don’t even know where to begin.

Big words and ideas like independence and future and career haunt me. You know I’m supposed to have all of that figured out by now. I’m still here, I’m still home keeping tabs on my people, but I don’t know how much help I am. I wonder about all the other people in the world. I’d like to go sailing for four weeks and meet some new ones maybe, or move to Arizona or North Carolina to room with acquaintances. But I’ve got things like responsibilty and a job and a phone bill. I lack things like a car and that crazy, gung ho, adventurous spirit that I’ve always admired. Someone told me I had “whimsy” once. I think I’ve lost that…that, or I only ever had whimsy in the little, safe ways.

Maybe I’ve already ruined enough relationships here. Maybe I should leave the world alone. Or perhaps it’s only that I’ve stayed here too long and worn out my welcome. Even people who claim to want beyond the surface friendships often hold respite for those who push for them in reality. Seeing all of the motivations and assumptions of another person, realizing the weak things that person allows to bind them, coming to know the cruddy, messed up heart of a fellow human…it’s tough. Genuiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Me, I think it’s still worth it. But I’m crazy and stupid, running after ideals, just like the rest of humanity. Could be I’m wrong.

“Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. ” Yeah, I’ve flubbed up that one. “Be Holy as I am Holy.” Another red scrawled “FAIL”. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Honestly? I think I “lean on my own understanding” more often than not. I’ve heard it’s never too late to restart. Don’t we all hear that constantly proclaimed from those with good intent, and motivational posters, and advertisements now and again? But reality usually proves otherwise. Mostly around me I see people trying to change in false starts and relapses. Of course not starting a restart on the basis that I’ll probably fail is a huge cop out. Call me a pessimist, prove me wrong, change your ways, improve yourself. I like all the encouragement I can get nowadays, though often the fuzzy feelings don’t last long here in my rain cloud.

Don’t worry about me. I’m not always this downtrodden. I’ve been responding to people who ask me “How are you?” with “Good.” lately and actually meaning it. I guess my cynical, long winded side comes out when I’m writing. But as for today this is all I have to say. You are excused. Go find something happy to dissipate the smog I’ve put into your system. Adieu.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Smog

  1. Some of it is the weather. This time of year really drags. I find myself exceptionally cranky without excuse, and carrying more than my usual amount of pessimism. A little more sunlight and weather that allows enjoying the outdoors helps some.

    But it’s not all that.

    It is important to not confuse our personal desires (or vanities) with how God has called us to live. We all want to be original and uncommon. Some of us want to live outside our comfort zone (some of us do not). Some of us desire an adventurous, gung-ho spirit. And we could go on.

    But the Bible doesn’t call Christians to all be original thinkers. It doesn’t say that the quality of a mature Christian is having an adventuresome spirit. Instead, we are told things like, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thess. 4:11-12). Well, gee. Where is the fun in that? What a kill-joy.

    But that is a bit of the point. Sometimes being faithful to God isn’t soaring through the clouds on an adventure with an awesome music track playing in the background. Sometimes it is being in a rut, getting up every morning and going to work. Sometimes being faithful to God is being a nobody who doesn’t have an exciting life.

    That is the lot of most Christians and they are not lesser followers of Christ for it.

    Now, if you have an adventuresome spirit and God has called to to live a life on mountain tops or the great jungle, then fine. But don’t think that your failure to live out your dreams equals a failure of being unfaithful to God. You may be living very faithfully for God right now, and yet feel in a very un-awesome place. Popular culture has saturated the world around us with the idea that if we’re not having an awesome and unique time then something is wrong. But the reality is that God has called most of us to wipe baby butts, feed little kids, and make widgets in factories. And we are no less serving God because we are doing those things.

    ….Which are all things you already know, so we’ll chalk up all those platitudes to the line, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory […]”

    Anyhow, sometimes the antidote to that smog is a good wind of thankfulness. Thankfulness for the good unoriginal ideas you have. Thankfulness for the quite moments, the drive home in the car, the health and safety, the comfortable ruts that God has given. Yes, even thankfulness for being a very common person. A quiet life is not a sin, it is supposed to be our ambition. Waiting is what we are often called to do, fishing in our figurative Sea of Galilee until Jesus comes and calls us on.

    Rather than being forever disappointed that you are not the person you admire, rejoice in being the person God has called you to be (and that might not be the adventuresome and dashing person you admire). We are a whole lot less than we like to think ourselves, and yet so much more than we can imagine.

    P.S. You can’t have it both ways: are you going to be an uncommon and adventuresome person who doesn’t have their future figured out, or are you going to be a common person who has future and career all mapped out in their ten point life plan? Being uncommon means bucking the trend. Being adventuresome means walking where you cannot see the future, or know your career. Being original means going where people shake their heads at you because you are so not doing what everyone else knows are the things you’re supposed to do. By all the things you say you are not doing it sounds to me that you are living an original, uncommon, and adventuresome life….just not one that will get a Disney movie made after you. (Ok, I’m teasing you a bit with this P.S., but you get the point behind it ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  2. I never got around to telling you how much this meant at the time I first read it. Sorry…being normal and having a job that becomes all consuming around holidays has its drawbacks. Anyways, yeah, this really helped me to process at the time. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for taking a bit of time to let me know that what I said was helpful. I tend to have second thoughts about what I write (whether it will be rightly understood, whether I should have shared, etc.) So it good to hear when those doubts of mine are groundless.

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