Have you ever watched a documentary or life story about some awesome person who did some thing that you know in your heart was the right thing to do, only to walk away feeling kind of like you suck? Here is this person with all of this adversity that they go through to get to where they are in life and you can’t even commit to a diet. You watch the movie and your eyes fill with water, you get chills, you start remembering when you gave a damn about something besides yourself. You remember being a child and loving and laughing and having dreams. What happened? How did you get so far off course? Was it high school when you started caring about fitting in? Was it college when you realized how long it was going to take to pay off your student loans? Was it after you got your first paycheck and went shopping and became an official “consumer”? Does it even matter? All you know is that when you hear about someone living the kind of life worth writing about, you know that there is something you should be doing that you aren’t.
I know that I have felt those feelings from time to time. I start feeling like life really is meaningless. I really get bored with the normal stuff of life like eating, sleeping, paying bills, going to the bathroom, politics, and buying stuff. I even get bored with the “exciting stuff” like going on vacations and trying to stay entertained in between eating and eliminating and the next election. Most of it doesn’t mean anything to me. Sure I will enjoy a movie or something and I like a good bacon cheeseburger, but ultimately I know that eventually I will forget whether I ever saw the movie, someone else will get elected, and you know what happens to everything we eat, so I am not going to get too excited. And you know what, I have this feeling that most people feel the same way. We get tired and bored of always trying to feel good because we know it is BS and actually causes us more problems than feeling miserable and then getting over it. The thing is we go off course because we don’t know how to admit our true feelings. We are too busy trying to be polite and look like we have it all figured out.
I wonder how many people who know me are thinking, that this doesn’t sound like me. Some people are probably thinking that I don’t sound much like a minister with this opposite of uplifting message. Well, you might be right according to the made up idea that everyone is supposed to be happy all of the time and that feeling crappy is a crime. But you are dead wrong when it comes to participating in the human life. There is some crazy idea out there that “spiritual people” are supposed to never feel anything but joy and that they are supposed to always be “on” ready to drop words of wisdom and risk their lives for flaky people who always seem to know what a “spiritual person” would do, but somehow give themselves a pass when it comes to doing those “spiritual” things. That’s why we have people who take on too much while wearing lying T-shirts that say “too blessed to be stressed” and other people waiting in line to dump more on them.
Are you one of those people that thinks that crazy stuff is true? In my life I’ve met so many soft talking spiritual people who on the inside are screaming and yelling and bashing people’s heads in. They are stressed the h*** out, but won’t admit it because they don’t want to look un-spiritual (whatever that means). Then there are some real sages out there cussing people out one minute and laughing the other who wish they were “more spiritual” not realizing they are angels. Lordy, you don’t think Jesus had a bad day? I could think of one in particular. And if you ever read the Bible or watched one of those Jesus movies, you know one of the last things he did was complain. Does, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” sound all cheery and happy? You think he whispered it so he could sound spiritual or was he yelling out because he was having the worst day of his life? At least with Christians, we should know better than perpetuating this false belief that people on a spiritual path are supposed to be grinning all the time being impervious to humanity. Jesus was called the “Man of Sorrows” for a reason. But if most of us ask a person how they’re doing and they reply back, “Um, I’m feeling pretty forsaken by God. How about you?” we’d be judging that person and telling them to get on drugs so they don’t feel those feelings.
Here’s a prescription for the day. If you are feeling crappy, it is ok. Feeling crappy is as much a gift from God as anything else. Now does that mean I’m saying you shouldn’t want the crap to end. Of course not. Jesus asked three times to get out of going to the cross. He obviously wasn’t happy about the situation. But ultimately he saw that the greater thing for his situation was to stick it out. He wasn’t judging himself for crying and praying so hard that he sweat blood. He felt it because it is a part of being here and he was wholly present with everything about being human. He felt the pain but he stayed because he knew that pain helps us gauge where we are and where we are going and he had somewhere very important to be. How well do you think a GPS would work if it only told you right turns? You’d just be going in circles. Feeling junky is not the time to numb out. It’s time to pay attention, because life is trying to tell you something. There are some things in life that are supposed to make you feel crappy. The key is to be present with it and move through it. But never deny it. It’s just not healthy. That’s what I get out of Jesus’ example.
It’s not exciting, but it’s honest.