A man like me is dead in places
Other men feel liberated
I’m at the computer tonight because I read a poem a friend’s dad wrote and it made me want to write. I thought about trying my pen at a poem, but that ain’t me. I love words, I just can’t make ‘em dance. What I can do, what I do really well, is talk about me. This is probably going to be a train wreck, but I’m going try and walk through, as honestly as possible, what my experience has felt like and who I feel like I am in and because of it.
The line above is my favorite line from what is probably my favorite Elton John song – how’s that for honest? This is pretty much how I feel all the time. The reverse is also true.
I’ve talked a lot about the anger that followed my dad’s death. Anger that came hard and fast. Anger that took over and drove out all else. I knew I couldn’t control it and I didn’t want to give it up. I didn’t trust God to take it and I was afraid of what I would feel with it gone. I was confused and afraid, so I hid it. Buried it deep so no one would know or be hurt by it. I was wrong on both counts. When you do that with emotion it does funny things to you. It changes you. This anger ate away at joy and hope; it left me numb and cold. At first I liked it. It was better to not feel. In that way anger gave way to apathy. After all of it, this is what I still struggle with. I don’t care much anymore. I have a hard time getting excited or sad or anything. I’m dead in places.
At least I think that’s what’s happened. I often think maybe I’m not so much dead in those places as I am lost. I think maybe something’s gotten crossed in there. There are times I get emotional, it just never seems to be at the right times. I didn’t cry when my daughter was born, but I sure can’t watch The Biggest Looser without a hanky. What is with that show? I don’t have control of it anymore. I have a leak. I don’t know how to express emotion when its appropriate so it comes out at wired times about strange stuff.
I mentioned in that last post that things are never ok again, and I stand by that. It’s been the most surprising thing about all of this. It turns out people are unique and irreplaceable. Having a daughter doesn’t make up for losing a father. She made her own place, she didn’t take his.
I’ve come to an interesting place, just now. I’m finding that I’m still afraid of feeling anything - or at least uncomfortable with it. I was just about to write a little about my daughter, but I stopped because I knew I would get emotional about it. Weird. Maybe the issue isn’t that I buried emotion before, maybe it’s that I created a habit of burying or avoiding it. I still do it. I’m doing it right now. I’m going to park this and move on.
I may be dead or broken in places most people are not, but I’ve also gotten to experience God in ways that have changed and restored me. I’m not good at the Christian thing - apathy isn’t an asset in this endeavor. I want to read the Bible, I just don’t. I want to pray, I just don’t; At least not very often. Again, I think it’s because I don’t want to deal with the way I feel or why I don’t feel. The problem with the Bible is that it is truth. People respond to truth. You have to deal with it. I don’t want to. Not yet, and certainly not all at once.
I hope this doesn’t sound too depressing. I feel like I do a lot of bitching on here. I hope it doesn’t come across that way. I’m generally at my most somber and introspective when I write. I struggle, yes, but I would rather fight and know than never be challenged and just say that I believe. Mercy and Grace and hope and love aren’t just things I’ve read about in books. I have and do wrestle with and live in them. I have lived - life hard and fast. I have had everything I know torn down around me. Through it all God has been faithful. He has pursued and loved me more fiercely than I ever could have imagined. He has recklessly poured out grace and mercy. He has restored hope and delivered on his promise of freedom. I’m free to embrace life because in the middle of all the mess it’s made I’ve found some good things.