My will to change still remains. I am not content with who I am. I am not satisfied with the ways of being that louder voices proclaim I should practice.
Many within and without have taken advantage of my ever-pressing desire to change myself. The common thread that runs back to my first memory is that I have a deep, core sense of who I really should be, and the person I see in the mirror or mirrored by others is not it.
The question isn’t one of whether I exist or not, or why I exist. It’s simply that I am not quite there yet with who I need to become.
The problems surrounding this quest are many.
I’ve spent many years ignoring my deeply felt true self in favor of pleasing others, with the understanding that others know better about how to get to my destination of self than I do. Others understand better because they have more experience, or they are better connected with highly relEt and important people.
I’ve also spent a few years abandoning aspects of myself that were probably okay to hang on to, simply because I was unsure of what to keep and what to throw away.
What is certain is that I’ve never successfully made and kept very many friends. Whether I am trying to sincerely just be myself, or trying too hard to please everyone, I do not know the way to winning friends.
Sometimes when I read the journals of Thomas Merton, and hear him complaining about how much the world intruded upon him after he became well-known, I think that he must have endured periods of his monkhood where he was actually in less solitude than me–even though I got up and went to a full-time job and worked among people all day, every workday.
Some of those years were the loneliest years of my life–right after my mom died and I couldn’t seem to find a girlfriend or a friend. I had a roommate, and I worked at a job that saw me talking to many people in the community, but I wasn’t connecting with anybody.
I kind of feel the same way some of these recent days.
I’m married, but I still feel so very much alone. I have a child now, but I’m not connecting with him in a way that will establish a lasting friendship with him yet. I’m working full time again, and this time I’m managing a group of people, but I am too old for them. My father, who at least was in constant communication with me after my mom died and probably my only reliable, true friend during those years, has taken to never initiating a call to me and answering in one or two words when I call him to ask how his life is going.
I guess life really is meant to be this lonely existence, as we hold out for the fellowship with Christ in heaven. There are some Sundays when I go to church that I couldn’t feel any more alone. The people there don’t seem interested in talking about Jesus, or communing as children of God. It’s like a social hour for them, where they socialize right up to the time of the service, go through the motions of singing, praying and listening to the sermon, and then go right back to yakking about how their lives are running independently of anything to do with their relationships with Jesus.
Being alone so much was probably the last thing I ever wanted. All of my childhood fantasies revolved around how I would finally impress my peers and be accepted among the popular groups of kids. I was always fantasizing about becoming the big man on campus in college–waking up into that magic world where I found myself and hit my stride and became a well-connected fellow on the verge of having a successful writing career.
But, that never happened.
I thought I’d finally gotten what I really wanted when I joined the cool group at the place I usually call my first real job after college. But, that was all just a bunch of connections made through excessive drinking and sharing too much of myself while inebriated.