I ask questions that I already know the answers to and for clarifications that I really don’t need… only to return to the point where I can’t share the light I’ve seen because I’m left in the dark.
This lyric is from a song written by a man who kept me sane when I was younger. Whether reading in my room or running down the basketball court, Eminem lyrics were always playing through my mind. How can one find sanity in the midst of an inconsiderate, cursing rapper who openly admits doing drugs and hating his life? Eminem kept me mentally stable because he was open and honest about his feelings, especially towards his family. He was angry at his father for abandoning him, and he hated his mother for emotionally abusing him. Growing up in a household where I was taught to “honor thy father and mother” and rarely found any reason to do so, I found comfort in knowing that there was someone else who understood my emotions.
When the Eminem phase ended, a new means of maintaining sanity replaced it. My entire life I have been trying to maintain my mental stability while proving to everyone else that I’m not crazy. My family is crazy, my life is crazy, but I- I am NOT crazy. While I am confident that I am mentally stable despite my past experiences, the point that I am trying to make is that I have spent my entire life controlling my outward demeanor to make sure that I come across as being as sane as possible.
Meanwhile, one of my biggest fears has always been losing my mind. I’m returning to my favorite movie as a reference because this scene in Proof often explains how I feel. (If you haven’t seen the movie, my other entry entitled Proof has a plot summary.) Catherine is talking to Hal about her work and how she is afraid of losing her mind and becoming like her crazy father…
” Catherine: Sometimes in my head I think it works, and then… Sometimes I just think it’s crazy.
Hal: There’s nothing wrong with you.
C: I think I’m like my dad.
H: I think you are, too.
C: I’m afraid I’m like my dad.
H: You are not him
C: Maybe I will be.
H: Maybe, and maybe you’ll be better”
Oh, how I can relate. Catherine was afraid of losing her mind because her father lost his mind, and she was in the same line of work as her dad. While my mother and I have very few similarities now , I look at who she once was- before she faded into this person that I no longer know- and I see so many comparisons. Our sense of humor, our work ethic, and our faith. Yes, I just said our faith – which is the most important factor in this equation. The problem is that my mom is mentally unstable and has no concept of reality, and I cannot even say with confidence that her faith was ever genuine. She thought that it was. It makes me wonder sometimes if I just think that mine is as well, if maybe I have inherited the family craziness and it is all in my head. I’m so afraid of losing my mind – and my faith- that I make every effort to maintain sanity.
Striving for sanity has lead me to weird research projects, poor life decisions, and chronic insomnia. Tonight I realized that sanity is my idol. I love the idea of making sense of things so that they don’t seem crazy to me. I spend my life searching after what makes sense and avoiding everything that seems “out there”. This desire has lead to deep control issues because I need to not only control my own mental stability, but I also need to control how other people view me. It is all about being authentic while appearing as normal and rational possible.
The truth is that nothing about life is normal or rational or sane in the eye’s of the world- or at least nothing about a life following after Christ appears sane. I am sure the Disciples seemed a little insane when they immediately gave up everything to follow a carpenter. I am sure that no one in those days saw healing people, casting out demons, and performing miracles as being normal or rational. I am also sure that Jesus probably appeared crazy to most of the population. Sanity isn’t the thing that defines me.. my identity is in Him and Him alone.
My love of the concept of sanity is holding me back, preventing me from getting closer to God… and my desire to be nothing like my mother is only esclating my fear of losing my mind. I am trying to control how God views me and how He works through me just as I control my image of myself and what others see of me. I can’t do that. It is impossible, and it is sinful. I’m breaking my idol, I’m giving up control, I’m confessing that I have tried to put God in my box, and I am asking Him to forgive me and to transform my ways so that I lose my mind and my sanity and gain the mind of Christ.
Let’s face it- I’m a little crazy, and I’m only getting crazier… and to be honest, I don’t think that I would have it any other way.
No, that isn’t a song title. Just a thought. I’m sitting in class, not paying attention to any of the details of economic security and food distribution. Weird since economic development in terms of basic resources was my central focus at one point in time. Now, I lack the attention span to even listen to a lecture on the topic. Instead, my computer is open.Windows clutter the screen. Facebook. Gmail x2. Google Reader. A.W. Tozer. Bible Gateway. iGoogle… Weird. None of my school work is done. Haven’t been doing it in weeks. I’m not concerned, yet. Life is slowing down… yet my mind is accelerating.
Weird. My thoughts have been centralized elsewhere. Focused on one thing. A disconnect from my current location. A disconnect from my current life. Or not? No, this is it. Why, then, does it appear so contradictory?
Admittedly this quote is lifted out of context, yet A.W. Tozer’s words are striking a chord right about now…
“If all this appears self-contradictory – Amen, be it so. The various elements of truth stand in perpetual antithesis, sometimes requiring us to believe apparent opposites while we wait for the moment when we shall know as we are known. Then truth which now appears to be in conflict with itself will arise in shining unity and it will be seen that the conflict has not been in the truth but in our sin-damaged minds.”
” I’m in love with God.
God’s in love with me.
This is who I am
and this is who I’ll be
And that settles it.
That song says it all. That is precisely why I use songs as titles. The End.
Or rather, the beginning?
To be honest, I have been an absolute mess lately. If I even attempted to explain why, I would be lying the second I opened my mouth. A familiar numbness has taken over- an oh too familiar numbness. The same, yet entirely different. I am missing something, as I find myself wandering aimlessly through desert chasing shadows across the sand. I have been here before- or at least I feel as if I have, but no one passes the exact same way twice. The difference: this time I’m not sitting on a roof, I’m not alone, I’m not loathing my life, and I’m not the same person.
The feeling is the same. The thirst is the same. The struggle is the same. The warfare is the same. Oh, but the situation is entirely different. If I think it is the same, then I will react the same way. I will pray and seek with a fight or flight response in mind… and that is not what I am searching for this time.
This is different; only God is the same. Once again, I find myself begging for a drink. Just enough to get through tomorrow until I wander out of the arid land. The truth is that I am finding exactly what I am asking for- enough to get by, to sustain my wandering. The truth is that I cannot find a steady stream until I learn the difference between running water and the shadows in the sand.
What is the real thing and what is just a faint projection of one’s imagination? Oh, the games that the mind can play. Mine questions who I’ve been and who I am, and it makes it much harder to figure out where I am going.
Yesterday, I some how found reality. I am that person, this person. This is who I’ve been, who I am, and who I’ll be. I know where I’m standing. Now I need to sort through the shadowy lies and continue chasing after the sound of the stream…. and soon enough, I’ll be out of the desert.
One glimpse at the image on the box is not enough insight to arrange thousands of pieces to form a larger picture. Generally we stare at the after shot and work diligently piece by piece to assemble it. I personally like to begin my puzzle by laying down the framework first… adding parameters to my construction project. Then I work inward… pausing when it is more convenient to isolate a particular area or feature of the bigger picture. Sometimes, things clearly, and quickly come together …. everything falls into its place. Other times, it seems like nothing fits together. You find your self trying to shove a piece into place to force it to fit.. some pieces seem to be missing… and some seem as if they have no place at all.. sometimes the hundreds of pieces on the table look absolutely nothing like the box… and we find ourselves wondering if we’ve found the wrong box. Sometimes we finish… and sometimes we give up and tear everything apart – only to entertain the possibility of starting over again on another day.
Oh, the challenge of a puzzle. The problem is that I’ve seen the image on the box or at least enough of it to have a good idea of what is being constructed… but I’m looking at the pieces thinking that there is absolutely no way that this is coming together.
It is like traveling from point A to point B. You know where point A is because you are standing on it… .you’ve seen point B in pictures and on a map…. yet you have no concept of what the road in between looks like. How does one get from A to B when there is no visible path connecting them? Pave a way… and get lost in the process? Fight reaction… or completely go in another direction until one finds a path or a particularly useful map? Flight response.
As of now, my desire is flight. I want the exit door, not because I want to get away from what will inevitably come into the picture, but because I cannot see the path ahead and want to find a better way to get to point B then bushwhacking or treading water…. I want to transfer… to quit.. to be anywhere but here… I’m okay with the destination, but I want a new path .. a new process.
I either need to pursue a way here or completely purge my directions and start from a new angle.. and I want to take the path that I was designed to travel along…
Oh the puzzle…