What you already had was the ideal way of being with only a few pieces missing. Striving for a whole new way of being has messed you up.
The difference between expanding your ego and getting closer to God is a polar opposite one, yet sometimes you think that the two processes are identical.
If you decide you want to be more like Christ, why then, you want to see yourself progressing toward being identical to the kind of person you think that Christ would be in your time and place.
Yet, your approach to perfecting your saintly self might as well be the same one taken by a hedge fund manager on his way toward obtaining as much wealth as possible. In other words, you are more concerned about how the world, or at least one significant segment of the world perceives you, rather than whether or not you are remotely righteous at all.
This is not to say that you are a complete hypocrite. You don’t commit the morst perverse acts of evil before turning to face the cameras and kiss a blind, orphaned widow and hand her a small plate of food. Instead, you mostly spend your time trying to grow your reputation and any good that you do for the orphans and widows that comes while you are making a name for yourself is to be highly marketed and made to look as if it were the most good done by any one human being since Jesus. But, your main goal is in how the world perceives you, and what they say about you.
You wake up … and you realize that the world is still turning without you.
They go on. They get on with their lives. Theirs are a series of binary decisions that started with, should I live or should I die? You, however, are suddenly faced with an infinite series of possibilites, should I be reborn into another life, should I roam the world as a ghost, should I inhabit my own fantasy world, should I go to hell, or heaven, or the place of nada?
I walked on. I woke up many mornings feeling like a nobody, a nothing, an unexceptional accident, a passthrough body where eventually my DNA might manifest itself as something great in my son, grand-daughter, or a descendant fifty generations from now. I didn’t know who I was or why I was here.
I severed ties with loved ones and strengthened ties with people I couldn’t stand. I dreamed of the beach and found myself in the plains of the Midwest. I dreamed of the mountains, and lo and behold, I was in the desert. I dreamed of travel and went nowhere. I dreamed of fortune and found poverty. If my law of attraction was working correctly, then I was surely malfunctioning at almost every level imaginable. Either that, or I was in the wrong universe. Perhaps in every universe, in order for the law of attraction to work properly, some of us must repel everything (negative or positive) that should ordinarily be attracted to us. We are the anti-matter of the universe that keeps the matter and the winners stable. We might seem to be successful, privileged, spoiled, but we actually repel what we obsess over (good or bad) what others attract.
Let me be clear, I am not a good guy. The good of me will not be interred in my bones–my good will be in whatever my good little son takes and makes his own. My good was just a gift of God, not my own creation. Perhaps my son will make some good of his own–he’s such a good guy. But, I’m not going to put him under too much pressure to be a great man–a president of a company or some such.
Why am I not a good guy? I am selfish and self-serving…just read all of this. You won’t hear me write about my friend from seminary who lost her mother today while she was twelve hours out from getting home after her final test of the full Junior year. We are Juniors, Middlers, and Seniors, here. I would rather sit and write about my day, my dreams, my problems, my issues. Me, me, me. You’d think I was the most special human being God ever made.
Now, even though I am not such a good guy, and I am so self-serving, God continues to be good to me. My health problems consist of acid reflux disease and premature gray hair, along with terrible eyesight and an average intelligence coupled with average athletic ability. In short, I am more blessed than 99% of humanity has ever been in its history, but to hear me speak, you’d think I was slightly more persecuted that Christ himself.
Why do I whine and complain so much? I suppose I think that if I stop, I will become boring, life will become boring–too many normal, good things flowing my way might turn me into the dud I’ve always feared I really was (and was often told I was partially behind my back).
Now that I’m older, though, I like the idea of being a dud. I look back on my so-called career and see myself evolving toward being a data and numbers guy instead of a creative, artsy dude. If I were to launch a brand new career tomorrow, I might want to be your accountant instead of your marketer. Being a creative, strategic thinker (really, a “feeler”) who hates mornings is sexy, but if you are called sexy by no one, and clearly unsexy to your core, then maybe being a coldly logical, tactical person who reserves emotional content for the children and the spouse is not such a bad thing at all. What’s more, if every single bum in the building is trying to be creative and an individual, perhaps you will stand out that much more if you give that shit up and let yourself be plodding, predictable and interested in the same Sci-Fi movies and classic rock as the next boring Honda or Subaru driver. Take a family vacation some place predictably part of the 1950s American dream. Drink beer. Befriend those who are fat and white. Just do it.
Let this life destroy my ego for good. If there’s one thing I want, it’s to stop wanting things for myself, and begin to want things only for others. I could be a breatharian, if you would just show me the way. I will live like one of the sky-clad Jains, in the woods or by the beach. I could be naked, free of even the most basic necessities. Make me into a conduit who simply takes the goodness and blessings of life and the Lord, and passes them on to others.
I don’t need a permanent home, or car or collection of family heirlooms. Even my writing can blow away. The Son of Man has no home, why should I? The wise man built his house upon the rock, but what kind of house was it? Was this a metaphorical house upon a metaphorical rock? Sometimes in the Bible, the wicked and evil are rootless and shiftless, and yet, so is Jesus. Jesus sleeps and drinks and eats among the sinners. He came to be a physician for the sick. I am surely not Jesus, but why should I live as a sick man pretending to be well? Why not be the sick man I truly am and live in those places where Jesus might surely find me?
The worst kind of hell wouldn’t be other people, but it could be a place where no one answers you, and you feel yourself drifting endlessly farther away from a place of salvation. Drifting eternally into a deeper sludge of no one and nothing to answer you, validate you, help you out–why, wouldn’t that be a scarier thing for you than roaming about a fiery furnace and gnashing your teeth against a trillion other damned souls?
Where would I be without all of this technology to assist me and my memory? I would be like any other peasant or soldier from any other time in human history–farming or killing, depending upon the available means and resources of the given culture. Sure, they had what is technically technology back in the good fine days of pre-history and eras of widespread illiteracy. However, only earnest fools would consider a rough plow pulled by a donkey to be different by degree from this magic Internet machine.