By the time I’ve reached this moment in the week, I am afraid that whatever was in me has already slipped out through some other means, or tucked itself back deep inside of me.
The problems I was trying to solve were just too big. I don’t know if I am a failure, but I certainly am no longer a man up for the challenge of solving big problems, problems that are really only ones that God can solve.
The issue of friendships and making friends. It has finally reached a point where I know on some level that I am simply not hardwired to make friends the way that other people do. People see me, and they cross the street or they avert their eyes. I don’t know what they are thinking when they do this. I have become fully aware of my deep scowl and have made every effort to smile when I think about my face. Then, the conversations with those who dare to try to get to know me. Yes, the “get to know you” stuff inevitably ends, and there is nothing there. I have nothing else to say to them, and I am not sure what they are expecting from me.
This may not seem like an issue for some. For those who have never faced it, or have rarely glimpsed it, they offer up a lot of bullshit, “can do” “keep on the sunny side” kind of positivity that is empty and unappealing. Or, there are those who fall into the category of experiencing what I’ve experienced, and they just don’t care. They like being alone. Their alone-ness is who they are.
It’s who I am, too, whether I like it or not. I will be alone these next few years, and then I will be alone as a pastor, too. Sure, I will attend dinners and parties and functions. I will give my input and accompany people in their grief and their joy. But, at the end of the day, the expectation is that I won’t be the one invited to participate in circles of mens’ buddies, mates, homies, etc. I will never be asked to stand as a best man or even one of many groom’s men–unless, of course, somehow a soul as miserably alone as me needs me to stand in, in lieu of what should be true friends.
Most people would say that I have brought this upon myself. I should have done this, said that, not done that. I get it. I’ve scanned my past for those things and tried to rectify them. I’ve tried too hard and not hard enough and tried in a way that I thought was just right. Why or how I ended up married? I’m not exactly sure.
I can say with certainty that this world is not for me, and if it’s the only one there is like it then I don’t really want to have to come back unless there is some kind of deal where I am choosing coming back over rolling the dice on a bid with St. Peter and heaven vs. hell. I certainly am not ready to gamble in favor of that ultimate decision–so if reincarnation was an option to try to get it right one more time before I had to go before the Final Judge, I would probably come back. But, if it’s not like that, and it’s simply a matter of “come on home when you are ready,” I am pretty ready to just come on home and stop pretending that this world holds something for me.
Of course, the decision isn’t really mine to make, but I thought I would write out my preferences–though I probably already have a million times before.
I should be abundantly clear that I don’t have greatness within me. I could never be among the greats of any set of human standards. I am average and mediocre. I don’t have the intelligence to solve novel human problems, and I don’t have the backbone to asshole my way to the top of an organization. Maybe this is what so many people can see, and they don’t want to get anywhere near it, in case it is catching.
I don’t know why I’ve never properly come to these conclusions before. I’ve probably written along these lines many times, but I’ve always held in the back of my mind that perhaps I was really just meant to be a late bloomer or discovered posthumously. Now, I think I can move forward with seminary in such a way that I don’t take myself too seriously. If I fail, I fail. I am not going to try to fail, but I no longer have this great fear of letting someone down.
If I fail, I go back to doing mediocre work–something I am actually slightly better than average at doing. If I pass my classes and ordination exams, then I go be a mediocre pastor, and nobody knows or says anything else about me. My son probably will go off and do and be someone much different than I was or am, thank God.
The great ambitions and dreams have finally been laid to rest. Even the small, desperate hopes have died their deaths. There is no feeling of desperation or depression because there is no longer any heightened expectations to be met with crushing disappointment. The utter blandness and mediocrity of the average life has finally arrived.