(Unedited, just like life).
Friday Morning Ramble.
Last night, lying in bed, I was thinking about things I could do with my life; of what I could or should do with myself now that baseball is gone.
What are my skills? Baseball, talking about baseball, writing about baseball… Okay, lets take out baseball and just say talking and writing. I’m handy in the kitchen. I can code a little. I know photoshop a little. I can coach. I can run a wood chipper… I worked at McDonalds when I was 16….Hmmmm….
What am I really qualified to do? I imagine a lot of you have this same concern. Or maybe you’re the exact opposite. Maybe you’re that person who got qualified to do a job, got into that line of work, felt safe in it for a couple of years, then realized how much safety can actually feel like prison?
I wonder if getting plugged into a loop of single focus work wouldn’t actually feel like an exotic prison where freewill is an elaborate hoax since I’m tied to a job because it lets me control the debt that would otherwise suck my life dry. I wonder if my choices aren’t simply the result of fear or unchallenged thinking about what life is supposed to look or feel like. I wonder if this is really the Matrix?
I like to think deeply, write deeply, and hear myself talk. Jokingly, I told my wife that those three things—as long as I spend most of my time talking about God—qualify me to be a pastor.
Could you imagine that, If I was a pastor? Woa x2.
The apocalypse would get here a lot faster…
My wife told me I’d hate it. She said I’d like the time spent with God. The writing about His word. The speaking on topics that had meat and actually affected change on people. But, when I was done doing that, I’d hate it when people came up to me to tell me how off/wrong/in error/sin/promoting division I was, after I’d sunk all that time into learning the material, trying to figure out how to apply it, and then laboring to convey it.
She said that it would drive me nuts. People who, because they know the same book and heard the same sermons and vaguely understand whats going on because they read a book at a Christian book store or went to a conference, felt like they had the right to criticize me after I’d dedicated years to the cause. People who live to critique the pastor and find fault with him, not because there needs to be fault found, but because those people have an inner need to do it. They would project their crap onto me because that’s what some people do.
It would frustrated the hell out of me. I would have to replace my office with a steel, octagonal cage, and tell folks if they had an issue with my sermon they could meet me there after the service.
At first I thought about how could get around that—that God would give me the power— but it would surely take years. I’d have to develop a thick skin and learn to tune people out, which, of course, would piss them off because their preconceptions about how a pastor is supposed to behave would forbid me to ignore them…that would not be the will of God.
Gossip would ensue. My wife would get a reputation for being a bossy, domineering, ice queen (for Jesus). We’d confide in close friends, which would become recognized as an elite church clique. I’d preach about some real, current, heavy topic concerning abortion or Mitt Romney or gay marriage or sex scandals with generals and authors and all hell would break loose—people’s pent up, unresolved crap would explode because they’d feel like they finally had the catalyst needed.
I know I’d hate it because I hate it know. I hate how, because people see the same games and listen to the same radio broadcasts, and read an internet article about it, they suddenly have the same ability to look at the game that I’ve spent my entire life playing and make critiques.
It’s frustrating beyond belief to be told you know nothing when, in actuality, you spend your nights lying awake wondering if you can do anything else because baseball is all you know!
The world is a funny place. The internet is an awful one. I’m not going to let this boil down into another one of my whine fests, so allow me to switch gears.
In another of my dark-of-night deep thought sessions, I found myself meditating on the reasons a person writes. I decided there were two main categories you can break all writing into: Because you have something you want to say through writing, or, because you believe there is a market for writing about a certain topic.
Sometimes, when you’re lucky, the two over lap. More often then not you find yourself writing based on what you feel other people want to hear come out of you. Mostly because you have too, because it’s how you get paid, because it’s how you keep your fan base, because it’s the way of the world… blah, blah, blah, digital capitalism.
I thought I could write for the bleating masses and be very happy. You know, I’d write and it would be easier on my body, marketable, novel, and fulfilling. Over time I realized it was much like that “safety can be a prison” feeling I talked about earlier.
It’s not that I have anything earth moving to say. Maybe someday. It’s that I dont’ want to be a puppet. I want to be authentic, even if it doesn’t make sense.
I also think that pastors want to be authentic and not be puppets, but in order for them to do that, they have to buck the consensus of the masses. Unfortunately, to stay employed, they also have to appease the consensus of the masses.
It’s a real heartbreak to find out that you can spend your whole life learning something inside and out only be as relevant as the opinions others have of you. What’s worse, we know it shouldn’t matter. At least we believe it shouldn’t. We set out believing we’ll break this barrier down but, in the end, all to often it breaks us.
I think about the life of Jesus and how he showed up in the midst of something very simliar to this. A world in which how he was supposed to behave was already laid out in front of him by people who really didn’t have any clear knowledge of what it was like to be God, but at the same time, because they agreed on what God should look like, they expected him to fit a form. It had become so concretized in the minds of the people that Jesus, just by being Jesus, was radical.
And he was totally radical. Not because he turned the world on it’s head, but because the world was already turned on it’s head and he simply lived what he knew. What else could he be? What else could he do? He died for being what he was, at the hands of a world that found consensus safer then truth.
I’m not saying I’m like Jesus. Or that Pastors are like Jesus, Or that baseball is like Christianity. I’m just enjoying the free style of this ramble, really. Sometimes a good ramble lets you unpack your thoughts. I often wonder where I’ll end up. What I’ll do. Who I’m listening too. If it all matters.
I’m not the first person to wonder this and I wont be the last. I wont be the last person to wonder what I should do for a living either, or, what I’m living for.
I think, however, people would find out a lot faster if they rambled more and worried less about what others agreed upon. Life is a delicate balance of living for something, safety, survival, and accomplishment. It’s always going to be with us. Who’s to say a short life of rambling, free verse on a tight rope isn’t better than a long, scripted, act in a padded room?