i have been encouraged to write again. And i almost wish i wasn't. It makes life nigh on unbearable for me.
Not because i don't want to write, quite the opposite actually. i do. i want to with all of my innerds and a few of my outterds too. i love writing and to make matters worse, i'm being urged to write a devotional which is a bit like inviting heroin into your life. It feels good but several months from now i suspect my life will bear a strange resemblance to much of Syria.
i don't say that flippantly. i've tried it before. Devotion writing, not heroin. i was, as you can read in the archives of this very blog and my Rabbit Trails one as well, full on into the expedition, with gunboys, porters, elephants and two particularly stout and careful fellows bearing my Ming dynasty bone china tea set. One need not be uncivilised about such things. But like the Brits with their empire, after the war, i had to give it up. And for much the same reasons.
i had become an insufferable twat.
Here's the thing and it's taken me some time to recognize this about myself. Or i recognized it long ago but oddly, my ego wouldn't allow me to speak the words. i suspect i'm great. i do not say i am fully convinced of this for i spend much of my time lamenting not being great. Much of my depression seems to me now to come from not living up to my suspected potential, a word and phrase i heard growing up about as often as, "Wash your hands before dinner." or "Be nice to your brother, you know he looks up to you." or "Quit picking your nose!" "He doesn't work up to his potential," they'd say. "He has so much potential, this is disappointing." "If you would only try, you have so much potential!" Apparently, other people thought i was more than i was trying to be.
Which brought on two counter cravings. The desire to be praised and recognized for the things i did, to be as great as they said i was and the equally emphatic desire to be ignored, to be left alone to do what i felt like doing rather than trying to "live up to my potential." It was like i had to compete not with someone else, but with an imaginary better version of me. A version, i was fairly certain, i did not recognize. Though i fantasized about him a lot. Eventually i decided i couldn't be him so why try. i set my sights at achievable goals, OSHA approved industry minimums and bowed out. Slowly, sadly the disappointed shook their heads and went away.
And you would think that would be the end of it. Or you might not. You're probably savvy enough to know that the worst voice of judment this side of the Great White Throne is in our own heads. There's no where to hide from that voice. No where to run. And so as not to go into a narcissistic navel novel; yada yada, he grew up, struggles with angst common to man, listened to the voices, tried to live up to the potential once, failed, wrecked his marriage, his finances, his family and became a shell of a man, a burnt-out desolate man, a man who wandered out into the wasteland.
And now here they come again. Worming their way into the black matter of my brain. Should i take the bait my soul craves so mightily? Have i become wise enough to handle the power or will the shame this time be mine? Is the Cross enough? Will i here, in this blighted place, learn to live again?