An open letter to my future self

Dear Future Me:

I wanted to right you a quick little note.  Sometimes, I/you can be so forgetful.  Sometimes, I/you can be so short-sighted.

The last couple days have been peaceful ones.  God has been around… Not in a huge, Moses-Burning bush kind-of way.  It’s been a little less dramatic then that.  But the last couple days are a good reminder, that dramatic isn’t always good.

Over these calm days, I’ve done nothing that counts as exciting.  Gotten a bit caught up with housework.  Read scripture, and some other books.  Spent quality time with my lovely wife and the youngest.  (The other 2 are at their grandmother’s.)

So, my future self, there will be a time when things are just crappy, stressful, and overwhelming.  At this point it will feel like life has always been crappy, stressful, and overwhelming.  Whatever the stress of the moment is, it will fill up my world.

I’m trying to lay some groundwork to prevent this from happening.  I’m trying to help myself deal with this future issue, right now, my future self.  One of the things I’m noticing is that I have this tendency.  When things are good I don’t think about God because I want to take credit for all the good things, and because, in truth, I don’t particularly feel like I need God when things are going well.

The result is that when things are bad, it’s not instinctive to lean on him.   Though God doesn’t deal in regret and shame, when things are bad, if I’m a fair weathered friend to God, if he had no active roll in my life when things were going well, then I feel a hypocrite on top of whatever the stress is.

So I’m spending time with God, as things have been pretty peaceful over these last couple days… And you know what, my future self?

Being in God’s presence is a pretty cool thing, when I’m not in the middle of a crisis.   As you know, there was this time that our life was crisis-filled.  And every time we needed our earthly parents they were there for us.  But it got old.  I/we missed just hanging out with them, when we could just enjoy each other’s company rather than have to work out a bunch of problems.

So, my future self, as much as I hope that in bad times, you can work on keeping a perspective on things, I hope that during the good times, you’ll continue to spend time with God.

Love,

Me/You

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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