It’s been a long couple of months, that’s for sure.
Writing this at the moment could be a mistake, because my head’s not together and I’m tired and frankly I’m not sure I’ll make any sense. But I’ve got to write this, because I like the idea of having a blog, and if I don’t update it now, with some semblance of honesty, I never will. I’m in that sort of a mood.
I suspect the last 18 months have caught up with me. My Dad passed away in September 2004 (about a year or so after my nan), following a long illness. And, me being me, I had to be the one trying to hold things together for the rest of the family, who had to divorce himself from everything that was going on just to keep ploughing forward, who could see what was coming but couldn’t bring himself to talk about it because it’d become some unspoken secret, the elephant in the room. Everyone deals with this sort of thing in different ways, and that’s fair enough.
Only I don’t think I’ve dealt with it, not really, and 18 months have passed and it’s starting to hit me, like a hail of bullets, or a truck.
I changed job roles around the same time, mainly because someone suggested it would be a good idea and I was in a reckless enough state to go along with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it for a minute – it was the smartest career move I’ve made so far. But making a smart career move can just complicate things when everything else in your life is forcing you to confront big issues, like purpose and meaning and faith.
Yeah, I’ve been going through a two-year crisis of faith too, not so much because Dad died exactly, but because of the circumstances under which it happened. Mesothelima is a cruel disease, and to suffer from it in the year of your daughter’s wedding, leading up to the anniversary of your wife’s mother’s death, well, that’s just taking the mick. To hear your Dad crying in the night is painful. To do that in the context of a church family going back a hundred years sometimes feels like an added twist of the knife. Does that sound selfish? Probably, yeah, I know. But I can’t help it.
And yet I’ve preached in the last 18-months, a bunch of us took a service and we took it well. I pushed for a slight revamp of the Sunday School, and it seems to have worked, and I’ve had my best run as a Sunday School teacher in the last few months. I’ve dressed as a pirate, for goodness sake. I still have some faith, but I haven’t faced its paradoxes yet, haven’t processed it into a form I can comfortably carry. And I won’t walk away from it, because somehow I know that would be a mistake, and I know how that sounds, and anyone who wants to could surgically take my current position apart in under five minutes, but there you go.
Everything keeps coming back to purpose, I think; what the heck am I doing here? What’s the point? You know, the sort of questions you ask at three in the morning, or in the pub, or when you’re in Sixth Form listening to depressing music. The phrase that keeps jumping to mind comes from a font of philosophical wisdom (ie. a Babylon 5 novel) – “We’re all on a mission from God, the trick is figuring out what it is.” Of course, sometimes that’s a pretty big trick, up there with David Copperfield and the Great Wall of China. I certainly haven’t figured out what my ‘mission’ is. Sometimes, even in the best times, it feels like life’s going precisely nowhere, that I’m going to keep taking the pay cheque and plodding along before dying old and alone in a house full of books and cats. I feel like I’m the one who’s never going to get married and have kids, the one who never figures out what he’s meant to build, the one who can’t even compare himself to Jimmy Olsen, because at least Jimmy gets storylines occasionally. And there’s a need here for me to be proactive, I know that. I just don’t have a clue where to start. Got to put the work in, no matter how much I don’t feel like it after a day at work. There’s more to life than a pay cheque, I know that, but LIVING like that, well, that’s the challenge. And its a case of rising to that or going a little bit crazy. And how to rise to that? Well, answers on a postcard to…
Blah blah blah, self-pitying whining, blah blah blah. Well tough, it’s my blog. And that’s where I am right now; I’m coping, and I’m not about to jump off the roof, but there should be more to it than that. Just got to get back to looking for it…