The Art of Loosing Ourselves
H&R Block is currently running a commercial showing a woman claiming, “I’m a tax professional. That’s all I know.” Now, I totally understand what H&R Block is doing. They are establishing credibility. You need to know that tax filing is not one service among many for them. Their competitors may be distracted by multiple gimmicks or planning services, but this is their area of expertise and they know it all as if it is all they know. I get it. But still… “I’m a tax professional. That’s all I know.”? I guarantee, after all the rhetoric and marketing has settled, that is not how this H&R Block representative truly sees herself. And, more importantly, it is not how she wants to be seen. She is multifaceted. She is complex. She is complicated. And, she is not alone. We all see ourselves in these terms. But is it accurate?
I have come to realize that I can boil down practically every single relational issue I have to a single source. The intoxicating effect of fear is the root of nearly every conflict in my life. So, as a citizen of one of the most spoiled countries in the world, what do I fear most? Identity theft. Not the stealing of information or credentials which we have been warned to be ever vigilant against time and time again in this age of digital signatures and passcodes. No, I am referring to the actual theft of my very identity. The root cause of nearly every fight, argument, misunderstanding, and hurt feeling I encounter is the fear that I will disappear. Maybe not literally, but in the minds of others… perhaps even in my own mind.
I am going to start writing, again. In part, to honor the requests of a few. But, there are other reasons, personal reasons that are very much in line with the beginning of Lent, a season of focus, preparation, and the death of one’s self, leading up to the celebration of rebirth. But, I have to confess that this is going to be difficult. I have become a reluctant writer. I used to be prolific. It came easily. Unfortunately, though, the flow of least resistance originated from a place of pain, angst, frustration, and a desire to fix things. But, I have since realized that is not who I am. Even so, I have not been confident enough to discover a new voice publicly.
Additionally, it has been difficult to document our journey the past couple of years because our proximity to others has been a sort of glass duplex. With my passion rekindled to write, many interpreted my observations as stones lobbed at a common foundation. I was plagued by comments from insiders contradicting my own appreciations or onlookers debating my desire to lay one thing down as a personal attack against their lifestyle and encouraging everyone to bear that burden. This is the nature of things, I know. For instance, one does not become a vegan without everyone else feeling that choice as an indictment against their own choices. And for many acclimating themselves to new choices, this is true. There are some obnoxious vegans. And from one who used to speak from a place of pain, angst, and frustration, it is even more understandable that people could interpret my new observations as such, an indictment. And, while that is not who I am, I have not been confident enough with my new voice to allow others to misinterpret my appreciations or motivation, or assume I wrote with the same voice they were accustomed to hearing.
So… mission accomplished. I am writing, again. Threshold broken. And, quite different from any previous attempt in the past couple years to exercise a voice in discipline and vulnerability.
There are a ton of things I’m desiring to share today, but for now I will leave you with a prayer from Thomas Merton that has been my heart’s cry for so many years:
“My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.“