Folks, my wife Lisa is having an outpatient procedure this morning at 11:30 A.M. EDT. If you could please remember her in your prayers.
Thanks so much!
For the last few days. And, man–is it ever ugly. First, my family headed out of town (they deserve it) for a couple days, and I couldn’t go. Then, there were all of these obligations–my wife had an art class (scheduled months ago), church, etc.
And it was my birthday weekend.
The rational side of me was cool with all of this, but I guess my inner child was feeling forgotten.
I was whiny, petulent, churlish all weekend.
My wife and I finally got to go out last night, and just didn’t go as I’d hoped.
I’m 45 today, and I just feel a little forgotten.
It’s okay, I’ll get over it.
Have a nice rest of your day.
You may have seen this video as it made the rounds via social media. Like so many of you, I not only saw it, but lived it. I was that kid. The one wondering if he mattered. The one knowing he didn’t.
I’m almost 45 years old, and I still fight that feeling inside that there’s something wrong with me–that I’m wrong. It doesn’t take much at all to take me back to that place. In so many ways I’m still that little boy…
I know God is my Father; yet I so often relate to him like I would my earthly father. That is to say, there’s a distance there that shouldn’t be. Yet I don’t know how to overcome it.
How could he love me?
I know he does. I’m just not good at feeling it. Faith, and trust, are hard to come by when the scars are still so very real. And God, like a faithful surgeon, often wounds right there in those very places of deepest woundedness… I don’t want to hurt, but I also don’t want to mask the pain.
God, are you listening?
How about you? Do you struggle with knowing, deep down, that you are loved by God?
I’m sure it’s a thing, white privilege. One need look no further than, say, Donald Sterling to know that there’s something very wrong with the world, that systemic racism exists.
That white privilege is a thing.
But don’t talk to me, a white guy, about it. Because white privilege, insofar as I can tell, never did a damn thing for me.
Let me explain.
Behind the middle class fačade, was an empty home. A home devoid of any real sense of security, or love. Emotionally distant, and uninvolved, my dad couldn’t keep it in his pants, “screwing around” on my mom for fourteen out of sixteen years. And my mom? When he left, she had to take on two, and sometimes three, jobs to keep us fed, and a roof over our heads.
The net effect is that I lost both parents.
While there may in fact have been more creature comforts, I was still latchkey. I came home to an empty house day in and day out. Left to my own devices, I didn’t get into drugs, but rather porn. Nobody cared.
Nobody cared when the centerfolds went up on my bedroom wall. They just closed my door, and pretended they weren’t there. There was no dad, or father figure, to tell me that women were not objects, or hos, that existed just for me. Nobody cared when I stayed up late at night, watching the racy movies.
I was, by and large, ignored.
Like Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, I was ignored. Until I fucked up, that is. Then it was all OMG! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?
But even then it was mostly bark, no bite. People couldn’t bother to really care. I mean my mom once took my cigarettes away, saying she didn’t want me to smoke. She hid them literally on front of face, like I wouldn’t retrieve them almost immediately.
The list goes on. The greatest travesty of my upbringing was that it was virtually consequence-free: there were no real boundaries, and thus no real, tangible, sense of love…
Wait. I can recall one thing that white privilege gave me:
My mom, the counselor, threw me an eighteenth birthday party. She and her boyfriend vacated the house so I could have friends over. Did I mention that she brought me along with her to the videostore to rent pornos? Yep, she did. And she, the youth diversion coordinator, also supplied all the booze we could drink, including hiding a bottle of Southern Comfort in my bed.
Lucky me, right?
So there’s my white privilege upbringing, people. Didn’t, and still doesn’t, feel very privileged to me. To this day, my relationship with mom is strained; and with my dad, it’s nonexistant.
Divorce and dysfunction hath it’s privileges, eh?
Pascal said that we all have a “God-shaped blank,” a hole in our souls. Problem is, we try to fill it with anything and everything but God. I’m not just writing of non-believers, but Christians, too. We don’t get a pass just because we’re saved. No, we still carry around “this body of death,” and as such will
sometimes often try to cope, to fill the perceived holes in our souls, with things.
Instead of God.
C.S. Lewis (paraphrasing) said we much about with drink and sex–when all the splendors of heaven are available to us. It’s not that our passions are too strong; rather, they’re too weak. But Jesus said “blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed.” And that, I think, is the crux of it: like Abraham, we believe, but think we can take the short road to the good thing God has promised. Yet it seems there is no shortcut to righteousnes, for even Jesus “learned obedience through those things which he suffered.” If the Son of God Himself had to learn obedience, how much more ourselves?
Yet we don’t like pain (I don’t), and will try to cope, mask, cover it however we can: through food, entertainment, sex, porn, drugs, alcohol, etc. Problem is, we treat Jesus like just another bottle in the medicine cabinet: we try a little, and when it doesn’t work, we pull something else off the shelf. Proving that we’re no different than the wayward children of Israel (going after foreign gods).
We don’t know how to endure. We are a culture of now. If You, Sovereign Lord, aren’t going to come through, well then, we’ll just hedge our bets. Because You’re too slow, distant, implacable, invisible. You don’t know. You promise life, and by God we’re going to find it somewhere. You just don’t know.
Yet He does:
Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
And the beauty of His sacrifice is that we don’t have to anymore. We don’t have to sin: we have a new nature. Yet we still carry around this dead flesh, and that in a fallen world. “For the Spirit lusts against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit–the two are contrary to one another.”
“Who shall deliver us from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ Our Lord.” Thanks be to God!
But do we really believe it? Do we live like we believe it? Most times I confess I do not. And so we come back around again…
Trying to fill those holes. Which is why, for me, the answer is no longer things. I’ve tried things: gone to conferences, tried liquor, stuffed my feelings with food.
None of them, not a single thing, ever gave me life. Life, hope, is only found in the nail-scarred hands of the One Who died for me. I’m done beating myself up for my failures, and giving them to Him. I’m also, in the interests of developing better strategies, surrendering my pride and going for counseling.
There are things I’ve held onto for too long. And I need help laying them down.
How about you: what do you do to cope? Where do you try to find life? Is there anything you need to lay down?