|Diary Page Eighty-Five|
|September 25, 2011 - To know me is to know I love with my imagination
Everything and nothing has changed. So, time to stop then. Just randomly clicking here and there on the internet (all I do nowadays, now that I'm done with school) and certain things started to fall into place. Thinking that to "fix" my life I need to "do something". "Something" has been many different things but all of them fell through. Or I actualy did a lot of somethings and none of them fixed me. Maybe I need to "stop doing something". Stop trying to fix myself. Stop trying to become perfect.
I am scared to just try caring for people and loving them intentionally. Scared that it won't be enough, or that I'm not really capable of giving. "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving" and does that work on a grand scale or only on the smaller scale of giving presents or making a meal for others every now and then? Maybe I should not ask why so much anymore. And love with my body and my time and my effort, and not just my imagination. And have faith that love in the real is better than the love in my mind.
"Now, however, there remain faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
October 6, 2011 - The devil comes calling in the form of despair...
I am angry and this hostility is preventing me from living a full life and investing in Jehovah's kingdom. I might have been content to go on like this but my brother is in the same boat and I can't watch us sink together, taking his wife and daughter with us. I can see what I want for him - to be the teacher and leader of his family and to experience the joy of watching his wife and daughter make the truth their own as his own faith deepens. I want to see him create a strong and spiritual family. What I want for me - joy and lightness of spirit, love and unleashing all of my potential in Jehovah's service.
According to 1987 watchtower, anger is a symptom of something else, and to "leave off anger" we must root out the underlying cause. I am angry because I feel very hurt almost all the time. When I have felt joy and purpose I have forgotten about my hurt, or maybe been able to draw on it to create something new and better, but right now I don't know how to do that. Besides, feeling good and doing better has never lasted, and that's what hurts the most. One of the articles I read cited Ecclesiastes 7:7: "For mere oppression may make a wise one act crazy". Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books and this is a reminder as to why: in it I feel Jehovah's empathy for us who are without hope. He reaches out to us through this book and I have decided to read the book again, this time to find the message of hope that I know is there.
Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 - Solomon, the congregator, desperately bemoans the futility of what he sees. There is nothing new, everything has been before, and will be forgotten, and will be again. For me, I see a microcosm of my continued pain in all of those eventualities:
1. What I'm feeling now I have felt before. why does the pain continue; why does it arise again and again?
2. It will be forgotten. I will be forgotten, I and my longings and my pain. I am already as one forgotten. I am aware of how little I matter in the grand scheme of things, and how little anything I do matters. It matters little even in my own life what I do, because I cannot stop the cycle no matter what I do.
3. But it will come again. Both joy and pain are part of the cycle. Yet this is not yet a reason for hope, because this means every joy will be followed by me crashing back down into this place. So why reach out for something better? I cannot just pretend that I have tried nothing before. I cannot forget. Everything I do is in vain because nothing breaks the cycle.
12-14: Solomon seeks wisdom by examining the reality of the world around him. He sees people striving and occupied, and says Jehovah gave this preoccupation with occupation, but it is vanity. Why would Jehovah make us to desire to be so busy when there is nothing that can come of it?
15: "That which is made crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot possibly be counted."
Here Solomon speaks of humanity which, due to inherited sin, cannot fix its problems and make a new world. That is why there is nothing new under the sun. My initial reaction to this scripture was to take it to heart as a condemnation of myself and my life: I was made crooked and cannot be made straight. I am found wanting and can never measure up. This is the source of my deep frustration and with it, my pain: I cannot be good enough, or good at all, or really worth anything. Anytime I think things could be better, the cycle goes round again back to this feeling of nothingness and depression. Why was I made crooked? Why was I born bad? I have been sad all my life; I did not have a happy childhood. Why can't I get over it?
But even in thinking it, I had a glimmer of hope. Because humanity can be made straight, but not through its own untiring efforts. Jehovah promises to help us to "measure up" through his kingdom. If he will help so many in the future, will he help me now?
16-18: Solomon was like me! He sought to "greatly increase in wisdom", to learn and study and fill his mind. He acquired "a great deal of wisdom and knowledge" and gave his heart "to knowing wisdom and to knowing madness". Knowing wisdom and knowing madness? Does this mean that striving after earthly wisdom leads to madness? Or that wisdom and madness go hand in hand, not one causing the other, but co-existing peas in a pod. Even as I read these scriptures I am again seeking wisdom to cure my own madness. But I have hope that I can find in these scriptures something that cannot be found in earthly books, in talking to other imperfect people, in websites or in songs. Because Ecclesiastes is a message from God himself, and here there is wisdom without madness.
October 8, 2011 - I scan my computer looking 4 a site....somebody 2 talk 2, funny and bright
Immediately after watching the Phillies lose in the worst way I have ever seen and worse than I even imagined, I immediately realized there is something much better I could be doing with my time. Back to Ecclesiastes.
Solomon details the many ways he tried to find some joy, some good, in this system of things. While seeking after wisdom he pursued many interests and did everything he could to create a lasting legacy. What he wants is for his life and this world not to be in vain. He wanted to find something worth living for, something worth satisfaction.
I know that in the end Solomon succumbed to false worship and, as far as we know, did not die serving Jehovah. So I empathize with him strongly and heed his warning example. He took just one turn too many to the world seeking something worth living for, but there really isn't anything. There is beauty, and art, and music, and good food and fun company out there. There is gold to make and dreams to dream and knowledge to consume. But Solomon, more than anyone, shows that it is not enough.
I know there is nothing in the world that can bring me lasting joy. Nothing untainted by the black mark of oppression, poverty, nihilism and immorality. I know this taint is in me as well. I feel it so deeply that I cannot experience the hope and joy that I wish to experience, because I am always tainted. Why can't I know I am forgiven and move on?
Eccl. 2:10 Highlighting this verse because Solomon talks about taking joy in his accomplishments. This is something I have refused to allow myself to do. I classify activities as "spiritual things" and "non-spiritual things", and anything in the latter category doesn't count. I don't allow myself to be happy about graduating college and earning my degree. If I feel good about it then I chastise myself. I don't allow myself to appreciate my own wisdom and empathy. Thus I see myself as a failure and that mark of failure stays. No wonder I am so often miserable.
Yet here Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived and favored by Jehovah, writes inspired verse where he takes joy in what he has accomplished, even if it wasn't a "spiritual thing". Working hard and achieving goals is good. And if it is good then it is from Jehovah. It can't be what I live for, school or anything like that, because like Solomon I will be disappointed. But it is not worthless! It is not a failure.
Eccl. 2:11-14 Solomon resolves to enjoy the fruits of his labor and acknowledges that wisdom is better than foolishness. In the past I have regretted my intelligence and wondered what is the point of learning, but if not for learning and growing and sharpening my mind, would I be able to understand these insights as well and apply them to my own life? That said, foolish or wise, "one eventuality..eventuates to them all":
Yesterday I realized that I feel like I am living under a death sentence and just waiting for the guillotine to fall. What am I waiting for? Why can't I live? Or why don't I know that I am alive? It can't be all or nothing. My life to date is not pointless and there is no Herculean effort needed to live in a better life. But I still don't know what to do to turn my life around. I have prayed and prayed. Maybe there is an answer here.
I used to say I didn't fear death at all. I used to say I didn't care if I lived or died. But I do care. I care because I don't want to run out of time to turn things around and enjoy the gift of life. But more importantly, I don't want to live spiritually blind. I don't want to die to the kingdom hope.
Eccl. 2:15-22 Solomon's despair: what's the point of it all? What's the point of wisdom and working hard and the days and nights of "vexation"? He says he hated life! Over and over he says it. Such strength of feeling in the Bible.
Eccl. 2:23-26 what Solomon says here I am not sure I fully grasp. He goes from talking about his hatred for a life lived in vain to realizing that God wants us to enjoy life even now. It's not in vain? And one more thing: He wants us to enjoy even more at some point in the future. In verse 26 we see the promise that everything the wicked work for will be given to the good. Instantly I think of the meek inheriting the earth. Obviously this has not happened yet, but here, simply placed at the end of the second chapter without highlighting it, the kingdom promise is made again.
So stop despairing and enjoy life now. Enjoy good food and good music and good company and good friends. Enjoy working hard and accomplishing. Continue to seek wisdom. And know that this life is not all there is. But it is something?