Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who I was and Who I am: A Poetic Observation

I was walking on a quiet night in the dark of a memory, imagining who I used to be and who I am, pondering the transition.  A light was shining but it wasn't in front of me, but in my mind.  Who did I used to be?  Theologically speaking, fallen.  Romantically speaking, existentialist.  Optimistically at best a biased seeker.  Marching in a sort of jaunt toward a great fearful unknown.  And who might I come upon in the eye of the dream of the allegory in my mind of the inward introspective outwardly projected journey of discovery...? but none other than an ancient figure.  Some called him an architect.  Others call him a great man.  Others call him a heretic.  Still others call him a transcendent representation of the future evolution of man kind.  I personally would learn to call him... God.  

Walking along the highway, observing my protestations, gravel crunching underneath foot, weary and worn, in need of rest I wondered about who I had been before.

The same man had walked these very steps a hundred times before.  So often I had walked along the road pondering the meaning of life.  So many times I had listened to music in the pale moonlight.  I was much the same as I am now.  Yet so different.  I had been so troubled.  Yet not in desire of changing that fact, necessarily.  I knew I wanted something different.  Yet as the fallen man I had taken a deep pleasure in falling.  And all the natural positions of the mind in that state tend toward homeostasis.  

It most certainly took an object from outside that system to effect any possible change.  And what a change it has been.  So different, yet essentially the same person.  One might say a new attitude, but that might suggest the change was simply one of attitude, and it was most certainly not.  

My atheist friends think I'm delusional.  My agnostic friends think I'm a dreamer.  And as Lennon said, if so, I'm not the only one.  

Looking in retrospect definitely becomes a troubling parallax.  The same, yet different.  Effectively doomed, as a feeling had been the prior state before the intervention of a certain Jesus Christ, a rather ancient man, born in Nazareth over 2,000 years ago, apparently being exactly who he claimed to be, to my eternal surprise.  I honestly hadn't expected that.  The modern descriptions of it had been so cheesy, simplistic, and uninspiring it seemed proven entirely false.  Much to my surprise I was wrong.  

Perhaps the greatest experience of becoming a "Christ-follower" has been learning to realize my wrongness and embrace rightness, for the sake of myself, others, and the universe at large.  Being wrong about something isn't so bad.  As long as I remain aware that the most important thing is not being right, but knowing the truth.  And even following the truth.  Dare I even say, embracing the reality of my own moral shortcomings?  Oh my, dare we go there?  We all so love to pretend to be "basically good."  The irony is upon meeting this "J.C." we are just that.  But not before.  

I must've walked the path along the wooded road from my house 700 times at least.  I would walk every night.  Sometimes on drugs.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes sad.  Sometimes excited.  Sometimes downright lost.  Still I would walk.  In fact the field across from my house became the setting for a short story I would write later about the spiritual journey of a young boy named Jacob.  I had sailed kites in the field as a boy.  It had always inspired my imagination.

Life, death, philosophy, religion, spirit, space, time, science, logic, so many ideas to explore.  So many things to know...  Yet so much trouble.  So much pain.  So much trouble.  Such a downward angle to the path.  So many dips, unquenched desires for turn abouts.  

The transition, the new life was like a worst case scenario.  You can survive, you can have new life, you can be fundamentally changed.  But you must embrace the thing you least want to face: the truth.  It was a bittersweet exchange, calling on Jesus Christ at rock bottom.  I had to give up my own eternal selfishness.  The brutal core of every problem of Earth from genocide to boredom: selfishness.  The self seeking default ethic of every person born on the planet... well.  Save one.. a certain peasant named Jesus.  Amazing and interesting that one perfection is the door out.  Yet turning that over was possibly worse than dying a thousand deaths.  It meant stepping into a total undesirable unknown.  But once through the door, the transition came from a constant downward journey, to an upward journey.  A new attitude, of no longer feeling doomed.  But feeling essentially free, and set apart.  

Please don't think for a moment that I'm exxagerating or overplaying this "feeling of doom."  Well we all have our tough days is not what I mean, not even close.  I mean a constant basic state of feeling essentially lost.  Day in and day out.  Walking around feeling like there is a hole in your chest describes it so well.  But desperately, so desperately not wanting to believe that some ancient archaic bizarre notion like Christianity, Jesus Christ could fill it.  The mere mention of such a "solution" filled me with rage.  It filled me with resentment.  

The deepest desire after that transformation is wanting others to experience it.  Why?  I have the cure to basic malady of every human being on the planet.  There it was all those years hidden in plain sight.  Surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.  There it was.  Now I have it.  And now I must deal with the scorn of those who can't understand it, and don't want to see it.  But was I so different only three short years ago?  

Returning to the basic assertion... I could not trigger the change.  God had to directly intervene in my disaster.  No one could show me.  He had to make himself known.   

In conclusion, walking the road tonight along the path I'd walked hundreds of times before reminded me of a few things.  It reminded that the change is real, fundamental, basic, and total.  It reminded me that experience of walking after Christ is a worthwhile venture despite the tortures.  The stark contrast between who I was and who I am is one I will never grow tired of rehashing.  It is the purest evidence of the existence of God that I carry.