For the past couple of months, i feel like i've been "stuck." This is partly from my own frenzied and manic nature, partly because Roanoke is (God forgive me for saying this), in many ways, the same emotional and intellectual quagmire it was when i left, and partly because i don't see any real "progress" in my own life since i returned. Well, to rethink that last, i -AM- a great deal healthier and several very necessary pounds heavier than i was when i arrived here looking like one of those skeletons you string up on your front porch at Halloween to scare the living shit out of any trick-or-treaters.
This being Sunday, once again i attended church with Lewis Kleiner, as we're sort of "surveying" the churches in the Roanoke area. So far, the experiences have been mostly uplifting and on-point. And, as the tradition builds, Lewis and i end up talking up and down the range of our life-experiences, and we came to a focal point: does God really want me to go back to NYC, or am i misreading my own desire (one that's not without qualms) as God wanting me to go back to NYC? Now, this might seem like a non-question to people outside of my circle of close friends, or to people who don't give what God thinks a second thought, OR people who assume that just because they want something, it must be what God wants. If you've waded through those qualifications and are still standing, good. (If not, go look at some porn or look at your stocks or Google F'wah, whichever gets you off more). The point is, i really don't want to assume anything about this. When i talked with my Pops about this a couple of evenings ago, he said, "There's nothing for you 'up there,'" and by 'up there' he means NYC. I responded, "There's nothing for me 'down here,' either!" Maybe we were both wrong, or maybe we were both limited by our perspectives on this. What i need is God's perspective. I refer to my time in NJ and NYC as a "self-imposed exile into Babylon," which sounds campy and a bit bombastic, but it's really not much of a conceptual stretch. I needed some of the things that happened to me there--good AND bad--and have come back a changed person in many ways. I'm a little harder, a little more streetwise, and a lot more skeptical about the government, the "system," or anything else that pretends to be organized by cloaking itself in a bureaucracy that's supposed to "help people" while simultaneously generating a huge profit for the people who are running it. I'm also a lot surer that my Faith is the most important thing in my life, the only thing that remained rock-solid during that whole time. Now that i'm in comfortable circumstances, well-fed, and not quite as afraid of getting shot at, it's become very easy for me to slump back into torpor, a sort of stagnant complacency that sucks like quicksand. I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE LIKE THAT.
In conversation, Lewis brought up several good points (and he usually does) that skewered me right where i needed to be skewered. I rise to the crisis well . . . i can be rock-steady in a crisis situation, especially when i'm manic, but when there's no crisis to contend with, i feel limp and useless, and have the self-destructive tendency to try to GENERATE a crisis just so i can feel like i'm actually "dealing" with something! Right now, the danger--or crisis, if you will--is the stagnation, the complacency, and my total lack of patience. It's going to take a LOT more prayer, and less "worrying," to get into the mindset i need to be in. Who am i? Who am i to God, and what direction or purpose does He have laid at my feet? I wrote earlier in my blog about "waiting on the Lord," and it seems like i talk a good fight but when it comes to actually walking it out, i'm falling flat on my face. Right now, everything i'm involved in (re-establishing the paperwork of an "identity," getting a job, taking care of myself re. health and--particularly--my Spiritual health), are not things that i'm going to see rapid progress in. It's a PROCESS, which means i have to go through all the steps--in order--to get where i need to be. And that's TOUGH for someone like me. But that's what needs to be done, and that's what WILL be done, because i simply cannot fling aside these necessities and go off on another tear, or have another emotional/mental breakdown that drags everyone around me down. Irionically, these slow processes (and, in the case of dealing with the bureacracy, often pointless and unnecessarily complicated) are creating the circumstances of a crisis. Just not the sudden, explosive kind i'm used to dealing with. It's not like having an autistic kid take a bite out of your arm, or watching several of your friends get drunk, loud, and increasingly aggressive to the point that sooner or later somebody is going to do something both painful and stupid, or being fired from your job because you won't kiss your boss' ass (or whatever lame excuse they use to cover up the fact that they're really firing you because your ass-kissing isn't up to the corporate standards thereof). No, this is a completely different kind of crisis. One that the patience and peace that only Jesus can bestow are completely necessary equipment for. I'm thankful for this time of peace, even though the lack of conflict sometimes scares me . . . i just need to make the most of it. Harder times and other crisis situations will come--that much i'm sure of--and when they do, God will give me everything i need to survive them. He hasn't failed me yet, and i know for certain now that no matter what anybody else thinks, says, or does, He will NEVER forsake me.
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