It is a sinister thought that has been floating around in my brain for quite some time, but until the last little while, I have lacked the courage to really look at it. It is an ugly idea, one that strips away so many pretty lies and half truths that I like to tell myself, especially when I am feeling feeble and restless at 3 in the morning. I am so very busy, doing so many very important and very interesting things, and I think very interesting thoughts and have very important things to say and interesting and important insights and lead an interesting life. Blah blah blah.
In my own little mind, my efforts are really valuable. I am thinking thoughts that are new to me, so they must be new and original…right? If I was not doing what i am doing, then this small part of the world would suffer….right? God NEEDS me….right?
Laughter echoes inside my skull, and I am not sure if it is mine. I hope it is mine.
Now, not that I am running myself down, or saying I am worthless, (because I < unfortunately > still think I am pretty great) however, I am not irreplaceable, nor am I especially effective. My own flailing and clumsy efforts so seldom produce lasting fruit, that it is kind of embarrassing and the truth is; I should be embarrassed. I make the arrogant mistake of thinking this is all about me. Nope. I make the super arrogant mistake of thinking I can do something to bring about lasting change. Double Nope.
Take this week.
I have a work project that I take guys to, and they get some work and work experience, something to put on a resume, a sense of self worth and accomplishment that helps them move in a direction, and hopefully independence. (sounds pretty great doesn’t it!!!) Oh, and they get paid, which is the part they like. One guy came out for the first time, and he complained and whined and did as little work as possible. He then got frustrated and quit after an hour and a half, and went and had a nap in my car for two hours.
I was a tad upset. Maybe a tiny sliver more than a tad.
I told him that he had been disrespectful, and had made more work for the rest of us, and blah blah blah. (I like blah today) I tried to reason with him and point out how he was making bad choices, and how work isn’t always fun, and how he needed work and was throwing this chance away…. etc. His response: got angry, defensive and pulled a beautifully cliched teenaged attitude out of nowhere. (I wanted to make him walk home, but I didn’t)
I dropped him off, and he stalked, stiff, angry and belligerent to his apartment without so much as a goodbye.
I assumed that he would want to quit the program, never speak to me again, pout and wheedle and make my life generally less pleasant than it had been. (see, the all about me mistake again…. so annoying) However, I did not pray about it, talk to God about it in any fashion, or ask for advice on how to try to restore the situation. I DID think smug and snide thoughts about how good and righteous my own actions and words had been….
Two days later I get a text from him, and he apologizes.
Now this seems like a small thing, but you have to understand how difficult it is for guys like this to admit they were wrong, made mistakes or have any flaws at all. That looks too much like vulnerability and that could get you destroyed.
I was blown away. This has never happened before.
And I did nothing to help it along.
Laughter echoes inside my skull again, and I am fairly sure that it isn’t mine.