Dawn is quickly breaking on a strange, convoluted, and dim-if-not-dark night of my life. I lovingly refer to this passing phase as “my resetting years” and it all became apparent because of feelings of isolation and entrapment. Had you or I the time to take in all of the details, I am not convinced that they would really benefit the discussion and so I have decided to give you a very quick synopsis: I’d be happy to share the complete collection with you if you’re genuinely interested….
The essential details are:
- my wife and I have experienced some isolation from almost everything/everyone that we knew and loved within the past few years;
- along with this isolation came a sense of entrapment – that no matter what we did we could not affect the larger details of our lives;
- this initiated an extended period of anxiety mixed with questions about life and love and faith.
We were both raised in good homes in a good church – our foundation was solid. We were involved, and respected, and happy. With the onset of this isolation, however, a number of questions also made their way into our consciousness. It was around this time that we began reading authors like Rob Bell who started to make us think that maybe there was a lot more “stuff” just beneath the surface that we never considered (I’m sure I’ll post soon on exactly what some of these things are). There was an obviously but seemingly uncorrectable sense of unhappiness with our professions and circumstances.
These issues coalesced and manifested as physical symptoms of anxiety in late December 2006/January 2007. Several months of introspection and other therapeutic mechanisms ensued. These were eye-opening and enriching, and while many questions were still unanswered and even remained occluded in the depths of my soul, a long, meandering, often hazy and difficult journey began.
From then until now it has been just over two years. There have been a number of difficult questions involving faith and self-worth and priorities and tradition and God and friendship and love.
I have only recently (read: in the last few weeks) realized how long and far and trying and draining and rewarding this reset has been. For the first time in a long time I have a real sense of self-confidence. I want to be around people and more often than not I believe that they want to be around me – some of them have even SAID SO in one way or another. Inside of me now is a burgeoning faith that is my own – not founded on, or a dependent of tradition or others. After years of lamenting the loss of who I used to be, I’ve discovered who I am supposed to be.
I know that questions are OK.
The practical implications of this are astounding and immediate. Others have recognized a change in literally the past few days. My wife has said “I feel like we’re friends again!” – which is not to say that we weren’t – I was just a lousy friend. Suddenly I feel like I can approach people free of my longstanding fear of rejection. I’m writing again. I’m reflecting again.
I am happy.
Brennan Manning, in Ragamuffin Gospel describes a similar scenario which I will paraphrase here, as it seems to really capture my experience at that time…
God, I don’t know if I love you. I don’t know if I want to love you. But I want to want to love you.
Though at the time I couldn’t or wouldn’t put this into words, I did know that I wanted to want to be at a place of peace, I wanted to want to be compassionate, I wanted to want to keep going. In my time of reset I didn’t know what would work or what was right. Unknowingly that last statement framed the posture of my life on this most recent leg of my journey.
Even as an often embittered and indifferent wanderer, I knew that I wanted to want not any old ways but truth and grace and peace.
And slowly, but safely and securely that prayer was answered abundantly and fully. And the God that I had always heard of as faithful at every step, and loving beyond comprehension, and accepting without precondition, I now know for certain to be faithful. And loving. And accepting.
I want to keep going.