Things that don’t really matter (December 19th, 2014 Edition)
- My grade point average
- I get so butthurt over this at this point in the semester, but I have had the same rubrics from day one, and in the period it takes to wait to know where my grades are at and the temptation that brings to panic like it’s 1999, I’m going to go ahead and decide to be calm because I can, and because seriously, this is little fish. Five years from now, I will be able to remember most of this, but generally speaking, I forget what I did yesterday. It’s backwards like that for a reason, and let’s just derp along til that becomes more and more obvious…
- How long he stalls.
- I have peace in this one, and it doesn’t leave.
- What specific teachers, people, humans think of me
- Hahahhah k.
- Why I am angry
- Not gonna change if I poke it, not gonna change if I mope about it, not gonna change if I whine: not gonna change unless I chose to change it (me, not them).
- How many likes my blog post gets (vanity is vanity)
- Guilty as charged.
- Whether or not other people see me as I actually am
- A shifting target that is perpetually off and perpetually a waste of my time..
- Whether or not I can do it all in the same complex order and nonsensical thought pattern as I know I am called to, because there is no other good reason not to, and because who the hell would think like this of their own volition.
- You know, I’m in a major that I don’t really like, that tells me that the way God made me and other people is relatively wrong pretty much every day I go class, even if wrong is just a subjective definition. That takes a lot of strength, and it takes a lot of willingness to learn from what people do poorly. It will pay off someday, but today it is just enough to be kind and show up to classes I don’t enjoy, so that I can accumulate that patience and perseverance to bless others later.
The thing about all of this being transparent, honest, and accountable business is that it is scary. You see how people are, and it can be tempting in moments of fear and insight to think that that is all they are and all they can be. Well, I may not see what makes you a decent person (lol those words). Let me retry: I cannot see your gifts, talents, goodness, and soul because you hide it with things that try to destroy it, diminish it, or in general dampen that goodness in you into ugly. But I can make lists like I made lists before and decide to attack each and every one of my doubts, especially if those doubts are about things I can’t see, like you or the content of your character. I don’t know you, because when I see things about you I can’t fix and shouldn’t try to change, I don’t see all of you. I see your failure, your pain, your discontentedness, your fear, and your doubt like it’s frosting all over you. And if I see that on your face, in your tone of voice, in your posture, in your bad attitude, shouldn’t I fight to believe that that isn’t all I see, knowing how much God loves us both?
Sometimes when I read through all the things that I have written I forget how often I don’t write anything down but I do this same stupid process. I can’t tell you how often, I don’t really know. I know that it is a fine wine kind of process. But I know more than anything that it grows faith in God by believing without seeing in other humans. And to be able to have faith that is great enough to not be seen and still endure, that is a great gift. Gift because gift is like Christmas, and Christmas is for Christ. He is present like a present. See what I did there? Wordplay is just makes the “differences” not different. And Jesus did that better than I could.
If any word exists today, it exists because it endured because of God. And if there are similarities that we see, they are meant to point towards God. Remember Nicolas Cage and all the bizarre calculations he had to ramble through in the Da Vinci Code? The only thing that made that more crazy and less real is that it was turned into Hollywood. Real people, living their real lives, having faith in others in ways that isn’t printed in a textbook. That is faith. Trust, and the pursuit of happiness just because it will radiate out in a way you can share. That is goodness, and the light of God within any one person.
I look back on what I wrote as a kid, and it scares me because nothing has changed. The only difference is that I believe in the goodness of what I wrote then. I believe that that goodness was there, even when people called it vanity, and being an idiot “philosopher” child that had no idea what she was talking about. It was true then if it is true now, how could it not be? It was never mine, that’s why I blog. But to think that goodness should ever be apologized for or diminished for the sake of convenience, now that is something to make us all weep.
Perspective is perspective, and faith is faith. Neither change. It just is. You can broaden your perspective to grow in faith, or you can stay the same and coast into eternity because you’re afraid and not knowing will make you very, very sad. I may not have much going for me other than faith from risk, but that was always more than enough. I wonder what Paul would have done. He talks a lot in 2nd Corinthians 12 about his ego as a thorn in his flesh. He doesn’t want to have to deal with this sorrow of knowing and also, trying to take credit for it, but he knows (2nd Co 12:19-21) that he cannot make others see goodness, and it makes him so bitterly sad when they do not believe in him.
“Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. For I fear that perhaps when I come I may not find you as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.” (NIV)
Paul is heartbroken. He knows that this church in Corinth does not trust him to be a messenger of God. They have been “speaking in Christ”, under God, because they have been speaking in the Holy Spirit of Christ, for the good and encouragement of others (the Church). He is afraid that when he comes to Corinth, they will not listen to the things he has to say (from God), and that their not listening will be the spiritual damage that causes him to bury them and mourn with them, given disobedience and fear.
I’m not apologizing, but regardless of what you believe about God, “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder” are not things you want in your life. We could argue for hours about what constitutes “impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality” in the world we live it, but that is not the point; the point is simple. Being afraid and disbelief puts wool in your ears. Fear and insecurity destroy you. Death comes from being miserable over a long period of time, I personally believe it accumulates in your flesh long enough that it makes you sick or hurt or wither of “natural” causes. I am not saying that you die because any of the following: a) God hates you or your family, b) It is God’s will that you be punished, c) There is any kind of easy answer that can be applied and affixed to it all, or d) You did anything wrong; but I do know that death is a part of life that none of us controls. Paul is a masterful writer, but he writes because he is called to write, because he knows the truth, and that truth heals.
If the only difference between Paul and anyone that writes is a) faith and (thus) b) stamina, why should anyone that writes in faith, hoping to gain stamina, have anything to fear? If what you write is true, it will still be true later. If what you write is false, it will still be false later. What makes it true or false is the same thing that makes each and every one of us equivocate when it comes to kindness: the heartrending knowledge of the differences between each end of that spectrum of truth, and what they will mean if we involve ourselves in them. There will be consequences if we act, because there are consequences for all things. But, if you believe that good fruit comes from good faith and goodness, then you must also believe that your goodness will bring about goodness outside of yourself. Lucky for us and the way churches and individuals are loved (as we have been loved), being a part of a community means you share that with others, especially those who don’t deserve it, which is why we give to the poor (as people of God always have). If you don’t believe in that, I dare you to google “Deus Caritas Est.” and read this wikipedia article (:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Caritas_Est).
The United States was founded on the basis of many competing forces, including freedom of religion. It has been marked by many events (protesting Baptists and the Boston Tea Party all the way to modern day social justice in churches) that have relied heavily on goodness in practice. Does it really have to be so big as setting aside a day or several hours, when kindness was always kind and voluntary? Volunteering is a lot like deciding to serve in the same way Christ calls us to, it is free, simple, and kind. If it isn’t, it isn’t really giving, because it would cost, it would be elaborate, and it would be hit or miss. We charge for that.