June 11, 2007

Breathing, From The Middle Stall

I read an article yesterday as I sat with my wife and kid at our window seat, in one of our favorite local cafes. It was all about following your passion, your childhood dream, your gift in this life, and doing it without guilt. I then realized the man writing it had no idea what it was like to be me, sitting here in a local cafe in South Bend, Indiana, with a 3-week-old son and wife of two and a half years on maternity leave. I could not possibly walk away from my job and follow my passion, even though that desire has burned inside of me for countless years, as repressed then as it is now. I find myself wondering exactly why some things are made to be kept to one's self, to be locked away and released only in secret, or in my spare time, or once the baby is asleep and fed and the house is clean. If we only have one life to live, why are we all working it away, in professions we never chose for ourselves, but somehow fell in and liked the pay or the benefits of? Why am I not writing? Why am I not creating anything? What could be more worthwhile than creation, than art? God himself is an artist. He created you and me. He created the heavens and the earth, and yet here I am pigeon-holing myself away in a niche I never saw fit for me. What would this world be like if God had become a CPA instead of an artist? Would there even be a world at all? Would He be happy? What would God have to say about this? I'm going to have to look that up. I'm sure that it doesn't please God to see us down here dragging our feet each day to a job we were not made to do, just to make a "decent", meager living.
I already regret publishing this post, for some reason.
While I'm at it, allow me to interject a few biased thoughts of mine on life and living, in general. What the hell is the point anyway? Of all we boast about as humans, of all the knowledge and skill we have acquired over time, why is it that this question can still go unanswered? Why can't I figure out exactly what it is that I am doing here. I'm not asking for a cheap one-liner either. I want to know the answer. I want to know why I feel so often like I am just walking around with nothing better to do than work, or drive my car, or write songs and poems and blog posts about what I think the purpose of life is when it's all bullshit anyway - I have no idea why I am here. Don't get me wrong...I love my family; my wife, my son, and my parents and sister. I love my dog and my house and the "great opportunity" I have here at the office. I love that, if I work just an eeeensy-weeeensy bit harder, I can get a "substantial" raise, and then I can afford a bigger house, a bigger car, and a bigger brick on each shoulder to carry around with me to and from here and there. I wish that people would stop being so phony. I wish I knew more people who were real, living-and-breathing humans with hearts and souls and brains that are huge, of course, yet don't understand or even claim to understand everything there is to know about this life we all live. I wish that sometimes, when I asked these questions, I would get a "gee...I'm not really sure; I always kinda' wondered that myself", instead of the usual, "well the purpose of life is simple; live according to the word of God, and seek wisdom and truth". Seek wisdom and truth? I understand what the scriptures mean, but what makes me cringe about those words is when they come out of the mouth of someone alive and breathing, just like me, that somehow seems to have no problem understanding the paradox inherent in such a statement. Is this blasphemy, what I have said, or is it just pure, honest humanity? Is a question evil? Here is why I refer to that statement as paradoxical: if I were to ask the bright young (or old) individual, who opened their mouths a little too soon and let these wonderfully-Christiany, chocolate-coated words pour out, what they mean by "seek wisdom and truth", here is the response I would probably get: "By wisdom and truth I am of course referring to the word of God." But what is the word of God then? "Wisdom and truth, of course." See the paradox here? Read through any chapter in the Bible and count the paradoxes you come up with. Why doesn't anyone question this? Too many people are afraid of what they might come up with. Too many people are afraid to think for themselves, and you know what? That is because too many people are deceiving the masses into believing that they don't need to think if they are saved by God's grace. How outrageous!! How often do we see Jesus emotionally wrought, spiritually and physically tempted, angered and violent, or doubtful of God even? If Jesus was human, why do so many Christians pretend to be not a follower of Christ, but Christ himself? What a joke. I am so fed up with the righteous front I see in most Christians I know. Being a Christian is not about being Christian-looking or sounding. It's about identifying yourself with a real and very human savior. Where along the line did things get so mixed up? Why am I going to be attacked by an onslaught of angered Christians for thinking about the Bible in my own context? Don't we all personalize the scriptures to our own understanding, to a point? It's not like I am cutting out words from random pages of the Bible and pasting them all together on a piece of paper, then xeroxing and distributing them around town. I've got a brain inside this circular thing on top of my shoulders, and I will use it whether my pastor wants me to or not. Wake up people. Trust yourselves a little more. Jesus died for you. You don't die for people you don't love and trust.
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