Apr 19, 2011

My Own Worst Enemy

Why is it so hard for me to believe? Why do I hold myself back? I just finished having a conversation with a coworker who is in a non-denomenational Christian church and highly involved in the choir, probably among other things. He and another coworker are highly religious, and between the two I have a lot I can bounce things off of, as they are both aware that I am to be baptized (this Saturday....eek!).

I was telling him about how recently, and I feel the same way, my wife is so worried that something is going to go wrong with this pregnancy she said to me that she just "needed a sign." I replied that she just needed to extend it to God (or the Universe which is how she prefers it) and ask for the sign. Lo and behold, just a little bit later we discovered that one of our plants we had purchased on the Supermoon when she conceived was dying. She watered it and asked that I speak to it and give it my positive energy (I talk a lot about the importance of positive thought/energy). Within an hour, if that, the plant went from wilted and sagging to completely upright and full of life. "There's your sign!" I said to her.

But...do I believe it? I don't know. I want to, but it's so hard for me to want to grasp onto that. I asked God how I could help her through this pregnancy and help her feel relaxed, and He said "Just leave it to me." That seemed the easy way out, at first, and I thought "Sweet! I don't have to do anything!" I soon realized, though, that He was asking for me to have faith in Him. Shit. That's so hard. Why is it so hard for me to just have faith in Him that everything will be okay? My coworker said to just start telling myself "I'm putting it in Your hands, Lord, and I believe this baby will be okay." I replied that doing so would be faking it, as it would be words if I didn't actually feel that way. My problem is I don't KNOW if I feel that way, not that I necessarily don't. Do I have faith that everything will be okay? What is faith? I HOPE it will be. I'm praying it will be. But do I have FAITH that it will be? Fuck if I know. What does it feel like? Do I assume something will go wrong? No. Do I wonder and worry that it will? Yes. Is that a lack of faith? How the hell do I build up and FEEL faith? Do I constantly bother Him and ask for reassurance so that I can feel better? I would think He'd want me to not need those things and have the faith internally.

Yeah, this is stupid but I look for signs in everything. I mean EVERY thing. For example, the Family Guy episode yesterday was about Meg who finds God while sick with the mumps. She eventually recants because Brian covinces her that no God could exist if she was born so ugly and with a family that didn't care for her...but I found it good timing that the episode was about God. And then The Simpson's was about how Bart always gets in trouble because he needs the negative attention that he gets from his parents when they punish him for the things he does.

So why am I getting baptized? Does it need to be a reason that is acceptable to God? Can I fake it through? Am I faking it? How do I know? Surely He will know. Part of me thinks that, well, it can't hurt. Clean slate, I have done bad things... Another part wonders if I'm just trying to fill the emptiness/ void/ hole/ longing/ however you want to name the desire that constantly drives us for something bigger and more meaningful. You know, the entity outside of ourselves, since we are too pathetic and weak to take charge of our own destiny, that justifies our existence. Part of me thinks that belief in God is an oxymoron stemming from our need to justify our stupid, empty, materialistic lives when we've given up on our dreams, hopes, and self-worth. I'm not accomplishing anything else in my life, soooo.... I might as well.

Dave Spritz from The Weather Man: "Fast food. Shit people would rather throw out than finish. It's easy. It tastes all right, but it doesn't really provide you any nourishment.... I'm fast food."

What a horrible reason to become a Catholic. Does God see this and think I'm just kidding myself? Am I just wasting my time and not going to get into heaven anyway? Or am I going to be on my deathbed and regret my whole life of attempting to lead a holy Christian life because I was just holding myself back and afraid to pursue my real dreams?

Am I happy being a Case Manager for homeless people? Umm, sure. I don't hate it. That's what I do with my entire life. There are very few things with my life that I've thought "This is it!! I HAVE to do this!" I knew very early after meeting her that G was the one. I knew I wanted to be with her the rest of my life. I love playing drums. I'm good at it, and it makes people feel good. I like having a job where I help others.. that's important to me. This job is easy, and like all other jobs in social services, I can only HOPE that it is helping them. I guess the card on my desk that a client sent me should be justification that I'm making a difference, but it's hard not to think that I could be doing more. I mean, I have time to type this while at work, so I obviously could be doing a lot more to help out I suppose.

I just seem to be unable to not question my motives and constantly second guess myself. Knowing God is going to be really hard for me. It's hard work, and the hardest thing for me is that I can't get the constant reassurance that seems to be necessary for me to feel happy. I went fishing for a compliment recently from the Mrs. when I was feeling like I needed someone to say "good job." She obliged, and, well, it felt good for a second. Then I found out that my tax refund was going to go to the school loans that I defaulted in 15 years ago. So I blamed God. Then I felt like an asshole and apologized to God. I apologized, so that makes up for me turning my back so quickly and readily on Him, right? Well, it shouldn't. I should be able to know that God, of course, is always protecting me and wants the best for me. Judging from my reaction, though, I clearly don't...well, didn't. So how do I build up that faith so that next time, I can say "Well, God, I see that it's more important that I pay off my school loans, so thanks." Or, whatever is the correct statement here. What the hell is faith? Belief in action? Prayer? Can I pray for faith? If I get baptized not fully believing in a Catholic God, will that just piss Him off?

I'm going to go to confession tonight (holy shit, I should prepare my list of sins right now...I kid, but seriously, how the hell am I suppose to confess? Where do I start? What if I don't think premarital sex is a sin? Do I have to to be Catholic? Can I confess that I don't have faith? Or don't know what it is? Jesus, shouldn't I know this stuff before I take a dip in His pool?), based primarily (solely?) on one thing. Several months ago, I said "Okay, 'God,' you better give me some advice that's related to you...am I just being stupid? What do you want me to do? Is this what you're after? What's the deal with this pursuit I'm in for You? Do you even care?" I opened up the fortune cookie....I'll pause to allow for laughter.... and the fortune read "An honest apology goes a long way." Huh. Well, okay, so He just wants to know that I'm sorry for what I've done, and that I can change my ways and lead a life as Christ would. I can totally get behind living my life as Jesus did. That's one thing I'm incredibly sure about with this whole process. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of humility, the power of positive thought and intention, the need for gratitude, and leading by example. Absolutely! 100%!! But, yes, I'm going to Confession tonight because of a fortune cookie. I don't have to because the baptism would take care of it, but He spoke to me and I have to listen. Did God really agree to talk to me as I asked through a fortune cookie? Really?! Am I that important that He'd take the time? Wait, does that mean God is really Asian and I should be turning to Confucianism or something? Ok, that was just a joke. But.... are all these signs I use just imaginary? Does it matter? Can I learn to become faithful through The Simpson's and a fortune cookie?

I don't know. I won't ever know. That's the point, right? That you can't know, you just have to believe? Wtf does that even mean? I was trying to joke with my coworker that I wish I could be one of those Evangelicals that sprints up and down the nave moved by the Spirit. His response was that I could ask for it from God and that, if I believe, He would give that to me. Therein lies the impasse. I have to ask for the internal motivation to have faith. How can that be? Will I even recognize is if it happens? What will it feel like? Isn't the point that I should be able to have faith in HIM? Not ask Him for it? If I ask Him for faith, am I taking responsibility for anything? I have to play an active role in this process, which I guess would be the baptism, the confession, and having faith. So I'll start with the confession and baptism. I just hope my motivation isn't false or objectionable to God in some way that negates those actions. Maybe if I take enough actions, it will build up the faith in me like my coworker says. Maybe the water will immediately transform me and confirm my desire to know God and bring me closer to Him/Her/It (I don't mean this in a blasphemous way, only as a way of making sure I reach God...would it piss Her off if everyone believed in only a male God?).

Part of me keeps hoping (which, of course, is why it WON'T happen) that God will lift me 4 feet off the ground at my baptism for all to see. That He will confirm my deepest desire that my life have more meaning than it currently does, when He speaks to me and gives me a mission in life. I want to be a healer and bring an end to human suffering, be it personal anguish, physical affliction, or international hunger or war. I want others to follow me in seeing the importance of loving all God's creatures, human, animal, plant, amoeba...whatever. I want the world to see that it's physical and material desire that is the root cause to virtually all of the problems facing the world right now. I desperately want this journey to fill the void inside me that hopelessly attempts to satisfy itself through gluttony, immediate and external gratification, and perpetual procrastination out of fear. But, whatever... I have to not forget the steps in a desire to immediately obtain the end result...that would be seeking immediate gratification. So for now, I have to see the revived plant as a sign of the health of my unborn child. Somehow it seems contigent upon that faith, which I secretly hope it's not, because I'm sure to falter throughout this process. I have to not question the validity of a fortune cookie inspiring me into action. After all, that's what I asked for. I have to have faith that it doesn't matter whether I believe God forgives me for my sins up until this point. If I verbalize my sins, I'm acknowledging them as real to myself and that I want to change, which can only help me forgive myself. If God forgives me in the process, awesome.

No....wait. Let me start now. Do I believe that God is about to forgive me for all that I have done wrong my entire life when I go tonight to speak to a priest? Yes. Yes I do. Let's try that on for size...


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  3. I'm so glad you found this inspiring. for writing that was done a long time ago, there is a lot I can add to this at this point. Stay tuned!