I tried to stop saying what I was afraid of and what I wasn’t. The admission of the fear may have been helpful once, but it had become a means of perpetuating the fear, rather than resolving it; a way of branding myself as being someone with X phobia, rather than a person capable of not having X phobia.
I mostly tried to stop saying I was moving on a path of becoming more righteous, because it doesn’t really make much sense. Goals are useful and helpful to bring about some changes, but you can’t force yourself to become someone while also asking God to mold you and shape you on His timeline and in His way.
I have to keep it clear with myself that there is a vital importance in setting goals in order to have a new and different career, and to move away from the old one for good. But, my earthly career, even one as a so-called man of God, isn’t the same thing as being righteous, being saved. Those aspects of my Self come from God’s grace, which always is the same. The way in which I become better equipped to accept God’s grace and my own particular expression of it will change over time, and hopefully trend for the better, but even in this way of being I must keep clear the difference between how I get closer to God and better with God and how I appear to others as being a better person.
I am now pretty aware of how I’m flawed, and the things that will likely set me off, if I am not on guard against them. I know that I am not especially good at remaining animated and connected to the conversation around me if I have become too tired, too hungry, too full of food or drink, or too distracted by some other pressing thing in my mind. I know that when I am tired or hungry, I will look pissed off to others, and they will avoid me. I know that I tend to project the appearance of being someone who doesn’t like to talk to people and would like to be left alone–sometimes I seem to be projecting this the most when I am feeling most inclined to have company.
I know, too, that I am really not that special or important, but at the same time, people do on occasion expect to me to offer my opinion. My opinion isn’t expected because people think I am a grand, wise old man full of more wisdom than the average individual–it is simply because I find myself at times in environments where people do care about the opinions of everyone in the room, mine included.
I should always keep in mind that I am not living in a perfect world–even my particular corner of it is far from perfect, and may not look much like what Jesus has in mind for his eternal Kingdom, or even look much like it will if humans continue to progress in their enlightenment about how to better live together without constantly killing each other. To state that this or that practice in our society, be it war, capitalism, cronyism, police brutality, etc. is a terrible practice and if we can only get rid of variables X, Y, Z things would be perfect–this is to usually express a very narrow, short-term view about how to solve the broader problems of human injustice and inequality. The system needs to be completely razed and rebuilt from the ground up, but the only King and Kingdom that will ever work perfectly is the one involving Jesus and Heaven (or perhaps the New Earth). Like the butterfly effect, we humans inevitably will introduce at best small imperfections into an otherwise perfect system that will increasingly snowball into massive injustices and inequalities like the ones we see in the world today.
A huge part of the problem is the throwaway mentality, or the tendency for us to invent technologies that don’t come with an easy way of disposing of the waste and byproducts that accompany the technologies’ production and disposal at the end of their lifecycle.
The old anger seems to go away when I’ve gone several days without any real human contact outside of home, and then a stranger or someone I don’t know very well treats me like a human being. There is just a moment when I am suddenly recognized as a human again, as someone of value beyond whatever thing or service I am purchasing. I think the anger increases when I am surrounded by people who I expect to treat me like a human, or at least treat me with some decency–some acknowledgement that I am human and not just a barely extant entity they are obligated to “deal with”–and these people all just kind of ignore me or flash smiles that are so utterly obligatory and wan, that I probably would have felt happier if they’d completely ignored me altogether.
Those times when I am utterly filled with love for other people, and my heart feels open and wants to reach out, and yes, I do struggle with the right words or the right way to express myself that isn’t awkward or trite, and I fail miserably, and I am left thinking that the other person has completely written me off as being someone who will never amount to being anyone they feel the need to even acknowledge as a fellow human being.
It’s true, I am probably 100% responsible for why I can’t connect with people as much as I would like to, and this is the singlemost frustrating thing of my entire life. Nothing has been more frustrating than this. The immense chasms that have sprung up, like out of nowhere, between me and almost everyone I have ever known. I have dealt with it in any number of ways, but mostly refused to face it in such a way that I remain kind to myself and others while still persistently attempting to move forward past whatever the blockage is.
There are indeed many times where I just wish God would show me once and for all how I got to be the way I am–whether it was genetics, environment or something from a past life–I just want to know. I need to know, I think, but then maybe I am supposed to work past it on my own down here in the here and now without getting some crutch of help where I look back into a past life and see a terrifying moment that wrecked my soul.