Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On the expression of feeling.

Emotions are a wonderful thing. It seems like everyone has them but not everyone knows what they're for.

Emotions are messengers - they are supposed to send us a message and then leave us in time. When they fester, they become a problem. Momentary anger, for instance, can spur us to the defense of something good or to correct some injustice. Lingering, festering anger leads us to vengeance. Momentary sadness can lead us to seek others or to fulfill a need, but lingering sadness can lead to self-pity, self-hatred, or self-destruction.

I am not ashamed to admit that for a man I am unusually in touch with my feelings. However, this has had its drawbacks as well, because I can't escape them sometimes. I have found healthy outlets for my feelings...but some of them were good only temporarily, or misdirected...see my last few posts if you want to know what I mean.

In the quietness of my life right now, I have returned to writing down my feelings (outside of this blog). I don't really have very many people to talk to at the moment for various reasons, so this is a good alternative. Usually when there aren't many people around anymore, I get all-consumed by my loneliness, and that hasn't happened yet in this quiet space. I feel totally OK. I would very much like to keep it that way.

So, today I wrote a poem expressing my feelings. Tonight, I will be writing a letter I won't send. Tomorrow, who knows? I might write someone an email. Or call someone - if they answer, and if I can think of someone to call.

I suppose for the average person, managing a period of quiet in one's life is probably not a struggle. Not for me. I am weak to my feelings and always have been. My Dad would shame me for crying as a boy, and my elementary school principal told me I wear my heart on my sleeve. If that's a problem then it's mine to bear for good because I haven't yet found a cure.

I am very proud of myself for my progress. At this time last year, I was really a mess from my feelings of abandonment and loneliness. Now, I simply see this for what it is. I accept that if I do not reach out to people, I cannot expect that anyone will reach out to me. I expect that when I reach out, some people may not respond. It's just a fact. For you, reader, this may seem silly but for me this is revolutionary. When everyone left where I live, and no one tried to stay in touch and I was all alone I couldn't handle it. I did not handle it...very well at all. Now I am. Now I can.

I think what also helps is that I now see myself more for who I really am...not completely, but much closer than before. I am really not that great. I am not very special. But I'm worth something and I have dignity. I am necessary and I am loved. I am not always loved by people. I am often not loved by people. But I continue to make my way in the world - the often senseless and thoughtless, sinning, ordinary human being I am has a purpose I still have to discover...some kind of way for me to be a conduit for God's glory in the world...otherwise I would not be here, I would be dead already. I am no longer pretending I know what it is.

I think many times earlier in my blog, I felt I knew my purpose...and that vision led me to despair because I wasn't getting engaged, I wasn't getting a job, I wasn't growing deeper in friendship with certain people, and I wasn't getting anywhere near what I felt my purpose was. Now I know better. I do not assume I know what the future holds, nor do I look ahead. Oh, yes, sometimes I get little fantasies about what I hope will happen. But I try not to entertain them. I am only planning what I absolutely have to plan...because at any moment, God may blow my plans to smithereens and lead me off in a different, wonderful direction.

Who am I? I'm just me. Where am I going, and what's waiting for me there? I really don't know. How do I feel? Just fine.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of true expression.

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