You know that euphoric feeling that you used to experience as a child? I don’t know about you, but most of my euphoric experiences were experiential and materialistic. One of my most memorable moments was as a young child, I think I was around six years old.
My parents were still together, it was a nice fall day in Kansas and my Grandparents were coming in from out of town for my birthday celebration. My family always made such a big deal over birthdays and I fully enjoyed every second of it.
I remember opening a few presents, but avoiding the big box that was the elephant in the room. My grandparents brought this large box. I mowed through the presents, tearing wrapping paper and leaving a wake of ribbons and paper almost like a gremlin was loose in our house. The last present I opened was the gigantic package, and everyone was looking at me to see how I was going to react to such an over-the-top gift. Cameras ready, people brought in to observe… I slowed down this time, a bit, and began to rip off the paper to find a shiny new bike.
I was shocked and saddened.
I don’t remember much else, besides the crying rage that I went in to. I was shocked and disappointed, but at that age I could not formulate exactly why. I probably wanted something Star Wars related and was devastated that this bike was nothing of what I wanted.
In a move that that would set a trend for my life, my grandparents went and took me out shopping to buy what I really wanted. Oftentimes, I am still this way, looking for an alternative way to make myself happy rather than embracing being disappointed I still feel a little shame about this moment, especially since I can still be this way with God.
I have seen a lot of huge potential life-changing opportunities for Suzanne and I. I have hoped, wished, begged, prayed, and few of them ever came true. As I move along in the process of maturation, I am becoming less materialistic and more experiential, sadly though, I still experience this “fit”. I often have to calm myself when something does not go the way I thought it should. Not that I am expecting everything to go my way, it shouldn’t, but often find myself wondering, “Why me?”
The path towards peace is a difficult one. It is a path filled with many failed opportunities where I wanted to sit and have a crying fit, rather than act responsibly. To be honest, I have met many people that feel the same way. We all have this idea that life should be relatively peaceful, unless we bring things upon ourselves. Many times this is true, until a tragedy hits and totally changes the course of your life. I had three major tragedies happen in the course of two years. My father nearly died from an Aortic dissection, my wife was injured at work requiring surgery, and I was diagnosed with some difficult health problems.
Facing these situations, I wish I could say that I was positive and made the right decisions at least 40% of the time, but I have not. I fail a ton. I get frustrated and don’t understand why bad things keep happening. I question why God would have us go through this. Strangely, I am closer to him, as I need more forgiveness than I ever have before. I don’t think I could wake up in the morning if I thought I had failed him along with all the other people I have failed and he would not forgive me.
I know many people who have experienced a deep sadness and left the faith. I totally understand. I could judge them and say many things, but I feel closer to them than anyone who has had a squeaky clean walk. I feel closer to the atheist, agnostic, and the doubter. Probably because through any given day, I am any one of them. Yet, I feel stronger in my faith than before. Some could say it was because I was tested and found some measure of faithfulness, but I would like to believe that it was because I did not totally understand the faith that I prescribed to. I have learned that God likes for me to wrestle with belief and understanding, rather than blindly believing.
I remember an old Christian song that had the line, “Deep calling deep…” I think I am experiencing a gutting of myself, God is making trenches in my soul, deepening to allow for more of his Spirit to flow through me. Although having a trench dug inside your soul hurts like hell, it is about the only way to produce spiritual maturity.
In the end, I really do not deserve what is happening.
Not many people really “deserve” what they get.
There are many people who are just living life and then tragedy befalls them.
A child is lost. The cancer came back. A divorce is finalized. A war takes away a life. There are many situations where people do not deserve tragedy, yet often we only hear the stories of their triumph.
We hear how God is getting them through it, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that they struggle through as I am. The decision to take the tragedy in stride was not a holy decision, it was one of desperation because the only other decision is death. Death would come to a person if they decided to focus on the tragedy and not on the God who will be there alongside them.
As a school teacher, I have unfortunately heard more children than I can count say, “I am going to kill myself.” This appears as the only escape from a situation to someone who does not know an alternate path, the easy way out. Of course, many of them do not mean it, they actually mean, “This really sucks and I don’t want to deal or struggle with it.” And in that vein, I have to agree with them. I wish life had an easy button that could be pushed a limited number of times. I wish there were a way to at least find out on what date will the current tragedy end. At least then, I could create some kind of countdown calendar to pace myself. Not knowing the end date, makes a tragedy the most difficult.
So throughout this post, I have covered a lot. In short, I am a spoiled brat. I am trying to just move onto being a brat, at least I am God’s brat.