A year ago, I sat on this couch and I was scared. It was on the other wall. That’s important to know because I had set my new apartment up after listening to advice about space and flow. I’d been searching the interweb about a lot of things, I’d been in counseling and restarted my twelve steps that I’ve grown all too familiar with. I’d made my fearless inventory… and then something hit me. Why don’t you make a faithful inventory? See I know the twelve steps. I know them professionally, because I was trained twenty+ years ago, and a certified facilitator by a Christian organization out of Charlotte NC. I know them personally – because when I get overwhelmed, I fall into old habits and don’t keep good boundaries. I also avoid making decisions on my own, and tend to follow advice.
And that is why I have rearranged my furniture three times in twelve months, bought four mattresses and despise my dining area.
A year ago, I was divorcing, facing being a solo dad again, had just moved out of a six-week stint in my parent’s basement (where I lived until my apartment was ready) and felt it. I was a failure… to the church, to my son, to myself, to God… I was a cliché, I’d destroyed friendships, lost yada, yada, blah, blah… you get it, you may not have been there but have at least driven through the neighborhood. Short version – I felt worthless, I feared what would come next and I just wanted to crawl in bed and sleep for the rest of my self-loathing days.
I used to look at my son and think – “This is why I can’t fall apart.”
He used to look at me as if to say, “Dad, you’re not fooling anyone, you fell apart before I met you.”
But at least we had a pool – and I had a plan. I worked my steps, again. But the questions kept nagging at me. Why haven’t you made a faithful inventory? Why don’t you have a list of where you draw your spiritual energy? What is your well? Sure, you’ve admitted you’re powerless countless times – but where does God’s power show through you? You’re an expert on your own sad story… but aren’t you the same-level expert on your glad-story? You’ve never hit ‘rock bottom’ why do you keep forcing yourself into laying lower than you are. I think secretly, you LIKE this.
The first steps are easy for a martyr, poor lonesome me, all broken and used up. But six – asking God to remove all defects? How the heck does that fit with reformed theology? Believe me, the last thing my ego needs is to think I’ve been perfected… that’s what gets me in to these messes in the first place. I need my inner idiot, my flawed self, my humility, lest I become even more insufferable to those atound me. That’s why self-help never really works for me beyond a few months – the same person that dug the whole is in charge of filling it in.
So I sit here, with my $25 paintings of an artist’s impression of a guy who heard of Van Goth on an episode of Dr. Who wondering why I didn’t do what I wanted.
See, I didn’t want a dining table, I wanted a booth. A diner’s booth. But, if you’re going to have people over, everyone needs a chair. I still want a booth. I wanted (specifically) a 3/4 circle-table diner’s corner booth, blue and white. Not dark blue, but a Lake Placid blue. Sure I live in a second floor apartment, but still… why didn’t I buy that booth? Why is my couch-type-thing a cho-fa? A loveseat with a chaise attached? I love my Charlie Brown striped chair on a swivel. That I bought later on a whim – that’s the most “me” thing in this “long-term stay” hotel existence. And it hit me…. this was never meant to be more than a transition place. Non-descript, non-unique – apart from my grey-orange-black-tan chevron chair.
Everything in here is “safe.” Everything is one-person mobile. Every piece could be lost in a move (apart from a stool, a chest and two chairs) and I’d care more about the price of replacement than the pieces themselves. And it isn’t because I’m a guy and don’t care – it’s because I didn’t know how much freedom I’d have in just a year. The divorce would be final, and I would quit my job with no idea what I was going to do next. In 12 days my calendar reads “sleep late, cook breakfast, nap.” I’m not sad.
I don’t owe anyone anything – no debt at all. It’s called financial peace.
I have made amends where I can – and carry no resentments towards others.
My regrets are mostly about hurting others – and I live with them, but they demonstrate who I was, they do not define who I am.
Whatever I choose to do next is MY choice, my responsibility.
I can buy a hearse (full service ministry). I can buy a custom-couch made from seats out of an old El Dorado. I can get my corner booth. I can be exentric, eclectic and energetic. I can invite others along for the journey.
I can chose.
Freedom – by recognizing forgiveness. I am forgiven…