Saturday, March 26, 2011

People like me...

...Aren't meant for this kind of life.

I hate being busy with...everything.

Granted, it's not all about me, but as I told a friend the other day...people like me are meant to be frolicking in flowers and looking at stars. I feel like I'm a child that's been forced to work in a factory, when really I should be playing with finger paints.

In the hectic struggle to plan and realize the rest of my life, I'm left feeling pretty squashed. Suppressed. Caged bird. I feel like I could be more like myself if only I didn't have anything to worry about.

I expect in response to this I'll be looked down upon as simple-minded. "Everyone wants those things, Jay." Well, that may be true, but you're not me and you don't feel it in the same way.

The stress of trying to make these important choices under a tight deadline hurts, but it's so much worse because none of the choices seem perfect. I suppose that's just another cross to bear.

I've discovered that I don't know what it's like to have close friends anymore. The other day, a great person told me they'd like to become better friends. That was exciting until I realized I no longer knew what I needed to do. I don't know how to grow in friendship with him any further.

In my efforts to become best friends with everyone, I've actually just made everyone a friendly acquaintance, with a few exceptions (my girlfriend being a large one). I've spread myself thin. Now, I have many people I can talk to about things, but I can't point to anyone anymore and say that they are one of my best friends...not really. I don't hang out with anyone more than anyone else, besides my girlfriend. And now I don't know how to. I don't have time, and I don't know how to let go or who to let go of.

I'm anticipating some objections. First of all, yes, of course there are people I like better than others, some of whom are probably reading this post. Second of all, yes, there are people I've known longer and am a bit closer to than others. But really, who can say that they, without a doubt, spend more time with me than anyone else? One person, whom I do not need to repeat. Is that the way my friendships are supposed to be? I'm close to some people but spend the same amount of time with everyone? Friendships are a life-sharing thing. There are people who know more about me than anyone else, and I've experienced amazing things with, but right now...can I truly say they are a large part of my life anymore, when we talk only in passing and spend an hour together once in a long while?

A friend from high school called me recently to tell me how he much he valued my friendship and would do anything for me. It was such a nice thing to hear, but the reason he called was because he felt like we were fading apart. I told him we weren't - I just didn't have time to go back home to spend time with him. But really...what kind of friend am I if I don't spend time with him? Am I really his friend? Do I really have to let all these friendships go? There is more to friendships than longevity, but something seems awful about not having any friendship carry for most of your doesn't seem right.

A compliment I am often given is that I am friendly and welcoming to everyone. But maybe I could still be friendly but devote my energy to a few people, instead of always trying to make new friends and get to know everyone. By trying to get to know everyone I've ended up knowing a little about many.

I just feel like it would be better to have a small group of close friends, rather than my large group of friends, orbiting around my busy life...

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was to know you now as I will in heaven, friend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sermon of myself.

"Then a great beauty was revealed in him, so that all who after came there looked on him in wonder; for they saw that the grace of his youth, and the valour of his manhood, and the wisdom and majesty of his age were blended together. And long there he lay, an image of the Kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the world."

I think that may be the most fantastic image of a dead man there ever was: Tolkien's description of the deceased Aragorn, one of the main heroes in the Lord of the Rings.

When I was younger I had many grandiose images of my future self. My imagination would get the best of me, and I would have impossible dreams of a fantastic mix of all my favorite heroes, a sort of Super Jedi who wielded an ancient sword and had magical powers. The sort of man who was powerful, yet noble; just, yet merciful; stoic, yet charming. A man who could only ever be fictional.

I've become a different kind of magical superhero. The kind who lives a pretty humble life, unnoticed by most of the world. I never would have thought that a walking rosary would be something I would want to do with friends...two nights in a row. I'm pretty OK with who I am.

My friendships have never been better. Just when I thought I couldn't feel more loved, I was surprised with two more cakes and a surprise birthday party after my last post. I got the nicest birthday card ever, filled with a message from the heart that made my eyes mist a little bit.

I feel like the shell that contained my former self who wanted to be a hero but was in reality no one was scraped out by strong hands and filled with something better, something that wasn't me but was what I really was striving for all along. A better kind of hero, a lover of God.

The good things that people like about me aren't from inside me, they are from God. The only thing I did that's worth any praise is that I slowed down and started listening to God and putting my faith in Him. The rest is Him.

These are all things I've touched on before, but I feel like it takes on a more profound meaning when cast in the light of feelings I've had lately. A great friend of mine sang a song that spoke of a father who misses his daughter, recognizing that his memories of her in the wake of her death are only a small image of the happiness of heaven, a place far beyond his wildest dreams where he will see her again. The part of the song that makes me cry hardest is when he begins to talk about his finite view of heaven:

"But in my mind’s eye
I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space
All the cancer is gone
Every mouth is fed
And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed
Every lonely heart finds their one true love
And there’s no more goodbye
And no more “not enough”
And there’s no more more..."

As happy as I am I never really feel like I belong here anymore. The song touches me because it speaks to my experience on earth. I'm tired of feeling far from God. I'm tired of family dying of cancer. I'm tired of people being heartbroken. I don't want to keep saying goodbye to friends only to never see them again, especially one dear friend who will be gone from my life forever in less than two months. It's killing me to think about it.

There is consolation in the knowledge that no two lovers of God see each other for the last time. My friend and I love God, I know, and we will continue to grow apart even in our separate lives. But heaven feels so far away.

I think because of this understanding I feel I know the reason I'm so attracted to people. Not in a sexual way, but in a way that I feel like I want all of my friends to be a large part of my life for the rest of my life. Why I feel sad if I can't see someone, or I'm not growing in friendship with someone. There are few people I don't like. It's all because I want to achieve heaven, the final frontier, where I will be one with all of them, if they love God. I don't want to say goodbye anymore.

That said, this seems to be who I am. I have a friend who is gifted with a great deal of wisdom. I ended up talking to him for almost three hours one cold night, walking all around campus. It was an honor when he said, after I told him that I learn a lot from him, that he learns things from me, too. I really don't know what they are, but he thinks I'm special. That really feels good coming from him.

If someone like him can say that to me, then perhaps I am closer to being the person that inspired my imagination, so long ago...

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was to see you again as I am in heaven.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I make all things new.

"Behold, I make all things new."

When I was 12, I had one friend. I was bullied at school. I also didn't love God. I didn't even know what that meant.

Ten years later, I know what it means to love God, and I do. I have a lot of friends who showed me they loved me today.

Today, I feel like I am 12 again.

This is the paradox created by my love. The more I grow in it, the younger I feel. "Behold, I make all things new," said the Lord. I understand what that means, now.

Today was the best birthday of my life. I can't wait until my 13th.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream that makes all things new.