Please shut up.
When you fall in love, a lot of shitty things happen. You heard me right. I know that love is supposedly fabulous, but as of today, I think of it mostly as a mixed bag, and honestly, I think that’s healthy.
Many of my peers think love is a lot of things it isn’t, and that is okay, because we are young and there is no way most of them would know otherwise unless they knew it from experience. Love can be nasty sometimes. In situations of abuse between spouses, partners, people, or really anybody (including sexual harassment et. al), the strong feelings that you have for another person can be used to manipulate you and oppress you in seriously demented ways. People are meant to guard their hearts, not because it’s some paltry suggestion, but because it matters in terms of how much crazy is flying around.
When I say crazy, I don’t mean any sort of mental health kind of crazy, unless you do. What is most crazy to me is most normal things, and the distinctions we make between them and what we consider crazy. In purely objective terms, there is so little difference if you are thinking broadly between you and any other person or, really, most things in this world, that who even cares. I can be severely dangerous to individual egos if you try to put others below you in order to make yourself larger. In fact, that is the same kind of dangerous I was just talking about, because it scars.
This is love romantically. This is love being friends. This is love for strangers. And despite whatever differences we make between significant others, friends, and strangers, at the end of the day, it can all be really good or really bad. The Holy Spirit is meant to help us distinguish, and it’s the same Jiminy Cricket voice of your conscious feeling you get before you’re about to make a decision you will later regret. If you listen to that decision voice that tells you “wait—what?”, it will probably be a little easier later on, because even if you made the wrong decision, you will know.
Let me explain. You can make decision A or decision B. God is limitless, and he endures, and he is like the Holy Spirit and love as a whole, which is described in all of the Bible, but for this, specifically 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.
If you do A, then you will not do B. So, conditional probability; you can do one or you can do the other. Regardless of the choice you make, you’ve got the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear a positive or a negative whisper.
So, if A is negative and you choose A, what will happen?
You will probably know pretty quickly that it was wrong because there will be consequences. However, you may not notice them until later, if at all. If my choice is to eat at McDonalds or Wendy’s, and I’m feeling like a Big Mac but I get the weird premonitioney feeling that Wendy’s might be better, what do I do?
Because let me tell you, that is how I have been living for the last two weeks, and it is the most ridiculous thing to be living in the world.
On one hand, you are thinking to yourself: Does it make all that much of a freaking difference if I just want a hamburger?
On other hand, you know that the thing you want is still a hamburger, and you could get that at either place. You know that the cost isn’t a factor, since your broke as shit either way, and you know that it is literally your sole choice because you’ve got half an hour to kill before you have to be anywhere or do anything that even resembles homework a little bit (barf). So, let’s pick up that conversation again.
You can do the thing you don’t have any good reason to do but you feel like would be a good idea. It’s a nagging feeling that doesn’t leave if it’s from God, and it doesn’t lead to regret. You can ask for more conviction and you can pay attention before you act, but the rest of it is equivocating.
Or you can do the thing that isn’t technically any better, but may be a little bit easier, and definitely guarantees you a Big Mac.
From my personal experience, risk taking is only 1% of the struggle. The rest of the struggle is just doing it. If you do things you hate often (more gradually over time), you develop endurance. And that shit lasts, because it’s from God and you had to listen to earn it. You can’t make yourself any greater or smarter, but you can definitely earn yourself some faith, and that will clear literally everything from your path.
Then again, on paper I only have 8 months of this. Most people are going to pretend that they don’t know what they’re talking about with 8 months, but hell no; I know exactly what I’m talking about, because that nagging feeling is still there. It’s a “still there” that never shuts the hell up, and I really wish it would, you guys. It would be sooo much easier.
But if I know what I’m talking about and do nothing and the nagging feeling is still there like it’s always still been there? Then screw everything; why am I even around??
Like seriously. I could get all metaphysical and mystical and vague on y’all for a second, but I will choose not to because I know cryptic is in the eye of the beholder, and I can be a master of saying things that you’d have to Houdini what the hell I’m talking about if you wanted to know (case in point: this sentence). I put a lot of value in words, and because I know how they will come across, I can hide behind a lot of words that seem like they have a lot of meaning. On the other hand, I can say nothing until I figure it out, and risk exploding because it’s cleansing to release them into the mental breeze. Or, I could just go with the nagging feeling, and figure it out as we go. That has always worked before, so I’m doing that.
I’m really not afraid of anything except being trapped (abstractly). I like to take a lot of risks, mostly because I know that none of it makes a difference in terms of anyone’s personal value. Today when I was in the car, someone I know said that the people who were across from us in the car were “indigent” and criticized the appearance of their car for being run down. I had them look over because I was laughing at how the lady in the backseat was laughing and playing with the baby that was about 18 months old. I seriously don’t get it.
I don’t get it because I do get it, I just know that none of the crazy jaded mean (mine included thank God) personal opinions are less than worthless; they’re straight up negative and they come from the same evil that leads to abuse. It’s like verbal abuse, but an early, one cigarette a day kind of verbal abuse. And I am obnoxiously consistently naggy with my friends and family when I am worried about them, not because I think that the 30th time will be the time they listen, but because when I worry about my people, I doubt.
You see, I know that God will take care of them, but it sucks to watch them do things that are stupid. The only way I will know for sure if they are stupid is to watch and listen and see if that naggy feeling stays. It usually does. Damn it.
So yes. Weeks on weeks on years of watching my friends and family, who I love because I know them best, do really stupid shit. And to top it all off, I can find you the research you still won’t listen to.
The funny thing about all of it is that my ego is just as bad, which is a HUGE relief, because that still makes me human, if only a little casually deranged. I know that my ego is huge when I think about my friends and family and worry, because like I said, worry is doubt. I know God will take care of them, so yeah, fear counts as doubt in this.
Doubt that he doesn’t know as well as I would. Doubt that I can help them just by being kind and being myself. That one is hard when you feel alone up against the dark you see in your loved ones, but folks, we all have it, and also, you aren’t alone if you trust in God. He is always consistent. If you feel alone, that too is doubt, because alone is a choice in the social arrangement we currently have going called “society”.
To top it all off, I don’t have any of the experience I would need to qualify 99.9999999% of anything I’m saying. THANK GOD. Seriously. Because when the naggy feeling stays and you still have no good reason to be talking, you know for sure that there is no one who knows what they are talking about, you included, and you are more willing to follow that stupid naggy feeling. The “adults” don’t know. Compared to God, they still have less than 100 years on you either way you slice it. They can’t make themselves any better either, because they are also kind of chronically imperfect like you and I. They just are.
The world tells us we have more or less right to an opinion based on our age, our appearance, our geographical location, our feelings or the way we think, and a bazillion other factors that have nothing to do with the meaning of the word “opinion”, which focuses on the fact that it is distinct to each individual person, or at least has the capability of being so.
So, in the context of faith, it is easier for someone to have a strong faith if they are my age or older?
GOD DANG IT IF YOU THINK I’M GOING TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION ANY DIFFERENTLY, THEN YOU HAVEN’T BEEN LISTENING. It makes no difference; faith is hard. Period. It just is.
When you have been dealt a bad card at my age, at least the world tells you to give yourself some slack. That probably isn’t good, given that if you are prone to wallow the best thing to do would be to praise and run the exact opposite direction.
But when you have been disproportionately blessed and no one knows the history because it is rather extensive and takes just as long to explain as it did to live, then one of two things happens. When you want understanding or to just generally be happy, people will listen to the backwards logic that is contradictory like God is and they will give you pity. Or, they will listen to things that are somewhat dark and tell you to cheer up. Which is why I rarely talk about most of it with anyone, but I usually talk about bits and pieces with very specific people.
It’s not that I don’t trust them; it’s just that not many people (myself included) know how to listen. It isn’t a human thing. And if I talk about everything, not only will I overwhelm them with 1000 random tangential thoughts that do no good to anyone (because that is how they will probably perceive in), but I will get really frustrated because they are listening to my words and not the spirit that I mean them in. It would almost be best for my friends and family to think: “what is the standard reaction that a person would have to this information?” and run the exact opposite direction than to not listen and talk. Seriously, let’s do the stats behind that. I bet it would work.
This is really selfish, but I just want to help. I have a lot of ideas; most of them are pretty great if they last. I’m trying to do my best to slow down and pause and what not, but really, I have never felt this fast in how I process all of this because I have never been listening so much. I know a lot about service. I know a lot about people. And I’m sick of hiding that information behind pretty Facebook messages and posters and shitty PowerPoints and other things. I’m over it.
Let’s pick oppression and see if I’ve had it used as a dagger against my character. Probably. I may be overly sensitive, but that comes from ego, not paying attention. We are all the same kind of crazy when it comes to ego; some of us notice more than others. And for those of us who notice, you’re either able to find a lot of different outlets to give what will come out anyway to some productive outlet, or you are beating your head against a wall perpetually because you feel like there is no other way.
It’s too bad that I’m wrong too here and there, otherwise I feel like I would have already succeeded in having people listen to me in a standard venue, and thank God that hasn’t happened, because I’m persuasive as shit.
Really, I just want to do something meaningful with my life. So I follow that obnoxious feeling. And it has always worked out. Always. Some of those always have yet to unravel, but they always do; it’s like the tiny tendrils pea plants use to wrap themselves around trellises: always.
The lack of meaningful work is why I have had such a struggle with classes this semester. If I could just show up to volunteer for 1 hour every day all around town and do something awesome, MY LIFE WOULD BE SO GREAT. But I do that anyways; I just follow the feeling. That stupid feeling is a better personal assistant than I could ever be. I go back and forth between wondering if I should drop out of college a few times, and I listen and verify that answer with my nagging feeling.
I realize that it probably sounds like I’m a schizophrenic right now, and before anyone tries that crap, let me cut you off: I don’t give a shit. That is how it is. I’m not planning on changing it, and I know from experience that I can’t.
So this is where we’re at; you, me and the nagging feeling. As usual, if I’m really upset, I say nothing. Sometimes it is because I doubt, but most of the time it’s because I’ve tried and now I’m listening until I know one way or the other. That is just how it is, and I couldn’t explain it any better if I said anything else, because I have. I can’t help it if people don’t believe me, and sometimes, they really shouldn’t. But other times, I just want to contribute in a way that acknowledges the fact that I truly do know what is up. And if you think that my age or anything else about me ever had any bearing on that, I am so, so sorry.
As per usual, it doesn’t matter. Life goes on. I’m still happy. But I thank God that I don’t have to figure out how to contribute, I just have to follow that stupid feeling. It always works out; always. And if not, I’ll know.