Haven’t written anything in a while and that’s probably for the best. But today, a combinaton of factors has put me in the mood to say something, but I’m not sure what. Sitting alone in a cubicle, with too much work to do, caffeine coursing through my veins, a long weekend ahead, a concert for one of my favorite bands, it’s all got me…happy. That’s not to say that life is unhappy. Much the contrary. But sometimes the routines become ruts become drudgery. And I’m grateful for a temporary escape from it all.
In many ways, the last two years have been a slow death of a certain aspect of who I thought I was. In most instances, I have found that deaths like this take more the form of suicides. Dying to self is not fun, and is not lightly undertaken, and requires a lot of repeated effort and failure. But in this case, it has mercifully been more of the nature of a murder. Murdered by God. Sounds like a Dan Brown novelette. The past two years would have been the time, had I been Protestant, when I would have switched churches. After a few years in one place, the excitement tends to wear off, I become complacent and fall back into horrid habits. When the spiritual life needed the old kick-start, I used to turn to divorce and remarriage. And it worked. The excitement of new people, a new place, new worship, it all conspired to get things going again. But notice thatit was not God that was sustaining me through the difficult times. I just bailed and started the process again. And the excitement would carry me for a few more years.
But that is no longer an option. The only alternative to the Church is…nothing. Atheism…I consider it every now and then, but there’s nothing there, both literally and figuratively. It can’t account for itself. And so I am here…stuck. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” And that brings me to the death part. With the excitement of being a works-riddled Catholic long since extinguished, and no prospect of rekindling the excitement through mere change, things have remained…stagnant for a while. Stagnant could imply changelessness, but think of a South Carolina swamp. It stinks. It’s hot. Things start to decay. The bugs start to bite. All my interest in things spiritual, theological, polemical etc has vanished. Turns out I really enjoyed these things for the sake of playing the part of the member of X church. These have waned in perfect correlation to my excitement levels. Turns our I liked trying to prove that I was smarter than the people I had left behind. I liked being the Christian with the answers.
Anyway, that’s all gone, and mercifully so. Sure, I am left with a bit of a vacuum. I used to love to read books about the Faith. Now the thought is…uhm…repulsive. I used to have a good prayer routine. Now, not so much. I loved Mass. Now it’s a bit of an ordeal, though squirmy tikes might have something to do with that. But really, what it means is that all ulterior motives are now gone. I don’t follow Christ, if I do, because it’s exciting, or because I am smart, or because (as I used to) the girls are nice. Or any such thing. At this point, it’s all about Christ, or it’s not. It’s all about following him, and not some ephemeral fantasy. Or course, devoid of all other incentives, I am less sure than ever that I will daily make the right choice. But now that all that crap is gone, at least what is happening is real. As someone said, more and more, I’m secretly just me.
How’s that for your quarterly dose of self-absorption.