Escape Velocity

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 31 January, 2008 at

I started this post about two weeks ago, but I got distracted by various things. Last week I was reading a webcomic (like I do), when it suddenly occurred to me that I could not remember why I ever do anything. I then dozed off for awhile. A lot of times I don’t actually remember my dream, but I wake with a bizarre sentence in my head. This time, it seemed to be a bit of narration: “I don’t go to work anymore. I sit all day in the hospital, waiting for my son to come out of the coma.” Huh. Not a single piece of that statement is accurate. Anyway.

There comes a point when a man simply gets tired of lying to everyone he knows. I wonder if there are enough people that know certain parts of me and, when taken all together, would add up to the whole, but I do not think so. Even to those closest to me, I find myself confiding incomplete truths at best.

I remember some months ago, a certain young lady shared with our church group about the “dark night of the soul,” which is, essentially, when God does not talk to you. (Christians consider this abnormal.) Another girl broke down in tears, as she was experiencing the same thing. A fellow was quick to comfort with “everybody” goes through that at some point. (It bears mentioning that I don’t think any of those three people have been back since.) We also had communion that night, and I happened to notice at least one person who (for whatever reason) passed the elements without partaking. And then of course, there was me. I could not help thinking that night, “Is there a single person in this room who actually believes all this and isn’t just going through the motions?”

On my 29th birthday, I took the last final for the last class of my undergraduate career. I made one last phone call. Then I checked clean out of reality and never looked back. For about four years I had tried to live with two mutually exclusive world-views simultaneously in my head. I needed two, because to be perfectly honest, neither one seemed to adequately explain observable reality.

I was actually contacted a couple of months ago about that discipleship opportunity that I had been wanting. I never called back. Heck, I didn’t call or email anybody back for a period of several months there. But in this particular case, I just didn’t know how to tell him that it was too late for me, that I was already half way to Nihilism.

In December, at our last meeting of the year, we discussed the “direction” of the ministry and how it was not meeting people’s needs. When asked for my opinion, I stated, “I don’t care.” And I didn’t, because I have been to about four or five “official” meetings exactly like that one, and I don’t even know how many private conversations on the same topic. I did not expect yet one more meeting to accomplish anything the others had not.

But it was far deeper than that. I didn’t care about the ministry. I didn’t care about Jesus. I didn’t care about life. A couple of months ago, a psychology student friend needed people to take practice tests. I volunteered for a test where I had to make up stories about ambiguous pictures. I had to sign a waiver that said that I would not be getting the results, but if it was determined that I pose a threat to myself or others, I could expect a call. I might have played it differently at another time, but on this particular day, I chose to be like (I assume) a detective on one of those crime dramas that I’ve never actually seen but seem to be all the rage, where I would look at the picture and have to come up with “the facts” of the situation. (I soon got bored of that and started going more abstract, but whatever.) At one point, I could not help but ask, “Why are all these pictures of sad people?” I don’t need a psychology degree to know what projection is. Regardless, when it was over, I asked if I “posed a threat.” I was told that I was not suicidal, at which point I could not help but laugh to myself, “Well that test doesn’t work at all, does it?”

But no, I’m not suicidal. Just bored. I never said that I was leaving my church group. I never said that I was leaving the church. I just stopped going. I am just not interested in hearing about Jesus anymore.

I think about God in the same way that I suppose someone would think about a father (my real father is nothing like this) who simply was not there when you were a child. Then, when you are grown, he calls out of the blue wanting to be part of your life but then disappears again for months or years before randomly calling again. I am not angry, I am just not interested. Cat’s in the Cradle and all that.

Of course, I have had this attitude before. It seems that whenever I get this way, some weird crap starts happening that I can not explain and think maybe I need to give this God thing another go. This time is no different. In fact, once I decided that I was serious this time, it seems as though God has been pulling out all the stops with these random emails and phone calls and books and funerals (and of course, my job). But I do not care. What kind of God only takes interest when I am trying to leave? That is not a Kingdom, that is prison.

Sometime after I came up with the title of this post, I thought through the implied metaphor of someone actually declaring, “I’ve had enough of you, Planet Earth! I’m taking my chances on my own!” What impudence.

So, I thought of a different picture. (This imagine might have come subconsciously from a movie, I am not quite sure.) I picture a man held captive in some way in an office building. He has decided to make a last ditch break for it by running down the hall and crashing out the window. He has to dodge people coming out of doors and there is lots of shouting and confusion and who knows how far of a fall it will be on the other side…

For I am tired of this up and down nonsense. This time, I want to keep falling until I actually LAND ON SOMETHING and then go from there. At least, that is what I told myself until I was hanging out at this homeless shelter like I do sometimes and it struck me that it could be a very long fall indeed. In fact, the only reason that I’m not homeless living the way I do is because my parents happen to have this empty house they let me use.

Regardless, I am still tired of the multiple world views, the going through the motions hoping that one day my beliefs will fall in line with my actions, the pretending to be something I am not. I too easily can flip right into “Jesus mode” and expound on some Biblical principle before catching myself and thinking, “That sounded pretty good… but you don’t happen to believe a word of it do you?” This is what I seek to leave behind.

3 Responses to “Escape Velocity”

  1. Anonymous

    Tim, just like in any relationship, it takes effort from both sides to keep it strong. Have you been doing your part to reach out to your friends who are in need? Have you been doing your part to reach out to God? You are a very caring person and I hope that this “I don’t care attitude” is only for a while. I hope that you will forgive people and be real with God about your frustrations, He will come through for you if you ask, then otherwise he is not God. Don’t fall into a state of self pitty, you are too good for that.

  2. Garrett

    To the previous comment: God is not bound by our expectations of Him. Some people use this “if-then” logic to create a God that works for them, but I don’t think our God is bound by that logic. God is not bound by anything we can put on Him. At the very least, your comment is mindful. You took the time and effort to recognize a friend. I don’t know that you can say Tim is in a state of ‘self-pity’. I don’t think you are Tim. The way I see it, Tim is more upfront and honest with the way he feels than most people.
    Tim, I like what you said about having been in this place before. I seem to go up and down, up and down, up and down and I too am tired of being in this state. I can relate to the wanting to just continue to come down until you land on something. I think that when we finally land on something, it is going to be big and painful. I hope that it will trigger something within us that will lead to forward progress.

  3. Anonymous

    I know you’re looking for answers, and I hope for your sake you find what you’re looking for some day. However, I don’t necessarily think there’s a truth that’s true for everyone. All we can do is seek for ourselves, look under rocks and question the trees, and develop a perspective that works for us.

    I remember when you started searching, and it is interesting to read about the journey. I remember when you first read the Bible, questioning and thinking about everything. You wouldn’t believe something just because you were told to.

    Which brings me to the question: Where have you looked? There are other sources of wisdom and ways of thinking. Point in case: Eastern religions, Buddhism, Zen, etc. Maybe it’s time to turn over some new rocks.

    All the best,

    P.S. Don’t lose the dry humor all together, I always got a kick out of it.

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