There are very many times when I feel completely drained, empty, and poured out. As a worry wort, anxious, paranoid person I can tell you that small things can weigh on me very heavily. I know I really shouldn’t let them, but that is much easier said than done. Recently, I think I let too many of those things get to me. I feel empty. In a position where you have to constantly pour yourself out into other people’s lives, it’s almost impossible to live empty. Which is why I sit and write today. I write because it does help to fill me some. Even if I highly doubt that anyone besides my wife and mother actually read anything I have to say.
The state of the world often gets me down. As an introvert, I don’t really enjoy being around large groups of people. I do, however, love people. I think that every human is beautiful in their own unique way. Yes, we are also horrible and disgusting in our own ways too, but that is what makes being a human so human-like. We struggle to find the balance so that we can live in a society together. When we let the horrible and disgusting parts of us prevail is when things start to fall apart. There have been many recent events which go to show this point. The one that weighs heavy on my heart at the moment is the police brutality, and subsequent unrest at the lack of justice for these actions. I don’t care where you stand on the issue, but you should know that there is something wrong and should cause you to be part of the solution. If you want to talk more about why it should cause you to take action check out my youtube channel and comment there.
My wife and I just listened to John Green’s book “Paper Towns” on our way back from Montana this weekend. The central theme of Green’s entire book is that we can never really know another person, yet we are all interconnected. Ultimately that human beings are all complex creatures. This got me thinking a lot about our interconnection. Especially in relation to what has been going on in the world. I am reminded of a quote that we use in our high school sunday school curriculum. It’s from Martin Bell’s “The way of the wolf”.
“You are everyone who ever was and everyone who will ever be. You are the whole of creation – past, present and future. Decisions that you make today, in what we call this present – this here and now – will validate or invalidate everything that has gone before, and make possible or impossible all that is yet to come. Anything that hurts anyone, hurts you. Anything that helps anyone, helps you. It is not possible to gain from another’s loss or to lose from another’s gain. Your life is immensely important. Everything depends on you.”
I think that we as human beings tend to want to let that horrible, disgusting side of us prevail. It’s too hard to remember that we are interconnected. It’s too hard to help. We feel empty and when we feel empty it is just so much easier to give in and not give a shit. We want to help ourselves, forgetting that it is when we help others that we truly help ourselves.
I write this now sort of a reminder for myself. In ministry you are supposed to be the one who helps. The one who remembers that we are all interconnected. The one who helps oneself by helping others. The problem though is that at this very moment I feel like I need so much help. I feel like I am flailing daily just trying to keep my head above water, much less able to help others keep above water. I feel like I have no outlet for my frustrations and failings other than this very blog. I think it’s a little odd that we expect this of those in church work, yet when we need help that there seems to be no one around. Hence the loneliness part of the title.
Ok so I have something rather embarrasing to admit… You know the song by Kansas Carry on my Wayward Son? Yeah, so uh…. well almost every time that I hear it, it makes me cry a little. the reason is because I feel like sort of like God telling me keep going. There will be rest and peace when you are done. When I am feeling so tired, and so unable to go on I listen to this song. The second verse and on really speak to me:
Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man,
Well, it surely means that I don’t know
On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about, I’m like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune,
But I hear the voices say
Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more no!
You will always remember
Nothing equals the splendor
Now your life’s no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you
I feel like it’s very much me. Like I’m masquerading as this person who knows what he is doing, when in all actuality I am just a human being struggling to not let that disgusting side win out the same as you. I often prefer isolation because it is so much easier not to put on the masks I wear. It’s so much easier to cry in private. I don’t have to pretend that everything is alright when it isn’t. Which in turn makes things worse, because we are all interconnected and therefore (even if we are introverts) we get help, energy, and relief from other people. I feel like because of this I don’t have anyone who really understand me or can see the real complex me that is me. So I tend to retreat into myself even more. I guess this is my confession as to why I don’t want to help people when I feel empty. How can I help others when I can’t help myself?
I don’t have the answers. This blog post is more about posing the question to all who read it: How do we help each other? How do we show each other that we are all interconnected? How do we feel each others pain? How do we not let the horrible and disgusting parts of ourselves win out? How can we fill back up when we feel empty?