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06 May 2014

A Journey of Self-Awareness

My bad attitude ramped up on Tuesday evening.
Oh, it would've started at least a couple of days earlier had we not been bombarded by "significant weather event" warnings that began Thursday or Friday the previous week.
But I was distracted as we rode out a bumpy Monday night packed with considerable paranoia (and we were packed into the bathroom) as tornadoes ripped through Mississippi and parts of Alabama, laying waste to sections of Athens, a small neighboring city, as well as other towns and areas I know you've heard about.
But in the end we were safe and I was able to get back to the task at hand: having a phenomenally poor attitude. Looming ahead was the weekend.
Among other music-related things I do, I play with a band. We had three gigs coming up, crammed into two days: one Friday evening, one Saturday afternoon, and one Saturday evening. I knew in advance how tired I'd be.
They say you don't get paid for actually playing music; rather, you're paid for loading equipment in and out.
Okay, maybe only our drummer says that. But he's right.
Everything I did that week was bathed in the dim, miserable fog of the thought, "I have to play three gigs this weekend and it's gonna be awful." As miserable as my self-pity was for me, I have to imagine it was doubly (even exponentially) miserable for my wife. But she was a trooper (wow, that sounds patronizing, but I'm leaving it in the post, anyway). So we all slogged through the week.
But sort of like Gloria Gaynor, though, I survived.
Sunday morning we met with our church group for corporate worship. (Full disclosure: I was, indeed, humongously tired and I went out of a sense of obligation. My wife was the only one who knew this until you guys just read it.) We had an enjoyable and relaxing lunch with some relatively new friends from our not-to-be-called-a-small-group missional community. I grilled scallops that evening, and they were even good enough for me to have served them to friends without offering up self-deprecating comments throughout the meal.
At some point on Monday, or maybe even Sunday night before bed, I realized I'd taken a boat-load of gifts God had given me and tossed them into a miry swamp of indifference.
I'm not talking about the "good" things from Sunday -- the scallops and the happy lunch. I'm referring to all of the missed opportunities to be an integral part of what God was and is doing on the world and in people all around me. That isn't a passive religious idea. The God Who created everything gives me the unmerited privilege of playing a small part in what He's doing. And that is mind-boggling.
So how many people did I come into contact with over the weekend who were hurting in some way? How many wanted to tell someone about how God had blessed them? Who needed a few dollars to pay his utility bill? Was there anyone I came across who was at wits' end but was trying to maintain a happy face so no one would see how devastated he was? And what were the names of any of the families that lost their houses on Monday night?
I've no idea.
So help me, I have no idea whatsoever.
Instead of being aware of -- or, heaven forbid, acting upon -- the myriad chances to "be Jesus" to someone (those opportunities and people are constantly in every facet of our lives), I was consumed with something rather finite and insignificant.
I was consumed with myself.
I'd like to say it's a lesson I've learned before, but it appears it's only a lesson I've been taught before.
So it's another week of embarking upon a journey of repentance and awareness. Not a journey of self-awareness, though. Those tend to take me where I don't want to go.
They keep me from going where I need to go.


Christy said...

I just wanted to say thanks for being so open and for sharing.

Jeff Fessler said...

I started to say "been there, done that," until I realized the humiliating inaccuracy of the past tense in that cliche... is there such a saying as "going there, doing that" in the grand collection of American, vernacular catch-phrases?

Dean Lusk said...

A friend of mine once took issue with the verse of "Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" that said, "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love."

And I think it's good to rail against that sentiment; that reality.

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