Tuesday, March 07, 2006

People!

I don't know what's come over me. Two posts in one day! Maybe it's because I'm wearing my blogger T-shirt today ( the one I bought for Brad on his birthday last year but adopted for myself when we found that it was too small for him). Maybe it's due to the recent long drought of posts. Perhaps this post will never make it to press. I feel I have a lot to pour out and so I may end up stepping on some toes...

Let me just start by saying, I LOVE YOU ALL. ( What a great disclaimer, hmmm?)

But...

I'm getting all verklempt about people. I know that I am part of the body of Christ- which consists of other people. It has been thoroughly engrained in me that we need other people to survive and, indeed, THRIVE in the Christian life.

But right now, it seems that other people, more often than not, are simply instruments of frustration and pain. There is a fine line between being strengthened by others and coming to depend unhealthily on others. Is it cynical or realistic to think that other people, no matter how well intentioned, are sooner or later going to hurt you, disappoint you, betray you or leave you...? I don't like talking about how people have let me down; I'd rather think about something else because it's too depressing. But the hurt is still there, whether you talk about it or not. How do you deal with that wound? What do you do after you say, "Okay, I understand, I forgive..." but you're still sad and upset?

I guess this experience must be a good thing though, because it causes me to ask myself,
" WHY do I do the things I do? WHY do I believe, act, pray, talk, worship, conduct myself the way I do? Why do I hold so tightly to this way of life? Is it because of other people? Because they're doing it? Because I don't want to disappoint them? Is it just habit? Is it because this is what God wants me to do? Is it because I think this is The Way Things Ought To Be- the true, original and future way of life?"

Oswald Chambers said something like this, " It's just me and God; other people are just shadows." ( Claire Paraphrased Version.) I love that quote. It brings helpful perspective. Right now I feel like, BRING IT ON! If only other people WERE just shadows. I think I could deal with them a lot easier that way.

Brad asked me the other day if I was going to give up anything for Lent. Right now, I think I should give up PEOPLE for Lent! Why do I get the feeling that this is a totally fleshly impulse? ARGH.

In times like these, I LONG to be one of those monastic hermits. I think that would be an AWESOME route to holiness. Go out into the wilderness and FEND for YOURSELF. Get a little Raven Delivery Service going...and you've got utopia. Freeee from the tyranny of BEING INVOLVED. Bliss, eh?

So why am I NOT out in a desert right now, setting up house in some cave? Good question...and one which I am seriously asking myself right about now. I guess God wants me to know vulnerability. Because I have been called to be a part of His body, a body consisting of other people, this means I will experience pain. That's just how it works. He wants me to share the fellowship of His sufferings, of His disappointments. ( IS He disappointed in us sometimes?) He wants me to LOVE and to know that LOVE HURTS sometimes, that faithfulness involves sacrifice. Love doesn't hold other people's poor decisions or bad attitudes up to constant scrutiny or condemnation. And, MAN, is that hard work- to let things go.

It's a difficult paradox- to live in a body of people, and be closely involved with others, and yet, let God take care of the parts of other people's lives that cause us pain. HOW DO YOU DO THAT? I guess the moral of the story here is, be careful in the choices that you make, and the attitudes that you adopt. Because like it or not, no man is an island, and so what YOU DO affects me- probably more than you know.

But you know what? It's not all about me. Shocking, I know. I'm sorry if this post has come across as whiny, preachy, or self-centered. ( I am hurting, I am mad, I think people are rotten, I am affected by other's choices, I am so much better than them, I have needs... I'm starting to sound like a victim...or worse yet, the very people that are giving me the headache in the first place. ) That is not my intention. I'm wrestling with some things and am just tired of it. People worry me. How can I not care? SHOULD I care?

"Earthly friends may prove untrue, doubts and fears assail. One still loves and cares for you: One who will not fail. Jesus never fails..."

17 comments:

karena said...

Amen!! I don't know anything about the details of what you've been through, but I agree! Why, I say...WHY! If it weren't for people, life would be pretty good! But then, there's the other side of it which is "People...you can't live with them, you can't live without them". (karena version)
AUUGGH!!! Why can't we all just GET ALONG!

Kristi said...

Gosh, I'm glad I don't live near enough to you to be worried about being one of "those people"! Sounds like you and Brad need to take a nice long vacation somewhere secluded. I know I sure cherish moments of solitude and quietude when I feel overdosed on people and their problems. That's probably why Jesus liked to get away into the wilderness so often. Man, He sure knew all about people and their issues. May He give you all the strength and grace you need right now, Claire!

DJ said...

thanks Claire. I was going to write a very * post, somewhere along these lines. Now I don't have to. and while I don't feel your specific pain, I certianly understand and can completely understand and sympathize.

so thankyou for sharing. I am glad to know that I'm not the only one who feels things like that...

Claire said...

I felt VERY Ryusomaish as I wrote it...

drewey fern said...

Even I, as sanguine as I am, have longed for the monastic cave now and then. And it's so true that others affect us deeply, and sometimes painfully.

But recently I have become totally convinced of the indespensible-ness of the Body of Christ. As much as others can hurt us, the fellowship that is possible can be a kind of salvation. So many times, God works through people around us. So many times when I have cried out to God for help, His answer has been in the mouths of others.

And I find that, when I haven't had quality contact with others in a long time, my thinking starts getting a little wacky. Other people often point out the truth in a matter.

I understand the pain of being let down. I understand the desire to crawl under the bed and stay there for several years. And I'm sorry you're feeling that way! But I think, in the end, it's worth the pain... I hope that someone comes through, soon, to show you the benefits of the "no man is an island" thing.

I love you!

kate said...

Thank you so much for talking it out Claire! I'm right there with you, or I have been.

I guess being open to love other people leaves you vulnerable to be hurt by them. But just think- that is what Christ did in the ultimate way. He was willing to be so in love with us that he left himself vulnerable to our sins.

I think we need the Body of Christ, but nobody said it would be a perfect union until we get to heaven. Meanwhile we learn how to have the same kind of love for others that Christ had for us.

Having said all that, I realize that it doesn't really give an answer on how to deal daily with the unforgetable knowledge of another person's wrongs against you.

But do know that I love you and appreciate all you and Brad are doing down there!

Amy said...

In my Music History class, we just finished the section over chant which required an in depth study of the Catholic Church, monastic life, chants (and their meanings) used during services, etc. Except for the vow of poverty, silence, lack of shopping, and manual labor parts, monastic life does have its appeal. Like stability, big gates, an amazing library...but I'm not sure I could handle the minimal talking, manual labor, no fun aspects. But having that studied distance from the world sounds very good sometimes.

Amy said...

And I loved your comment!! I had to laugh when I read it because, of all the cute little ditties to sing, I sometimes sing "Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man..." to Russell!! (A long time ago, back before we were as comfy together as we are now, I told him that I would never call him one of those sappy cute names...But one day I called him Muffin as a joke, and it stuck. So when he's being especially cute, I sing the Muffin Man song.) And breaking out into song at random moments is *so* *not* *weird*...how could it be weird when I do it too??

Brenda Jo said...

Goodness! I can definitely empathize with your verklemptness. I think the main ingredient is to keep God in sharp focus and stay close to Him. Talk to Him about each and every one of these situations & questions. And be practical in dealing with your feelings.

Arthur Weiss said...

[[[[[['[[=(That's what Arthur has to say about this whole issue. As you can see here, he obviously feels quite passionate about it)

Loreo said...

Did you get "verklempt" from Mike Meyers doing the "Coffee talk"? I'm sorry things are tough right now. We could all be amazing Christians if it wasn't for other people, couldn't we!! Ha ha!! I agree with Brenda's advice to talk to God about each hurt. This too shall pass! Love you!

Avalanche Cowpoke said...

Verklempt? Hmmm---new word fer me... ...Ol' 'Lanche mumbles a "Huh?" around 'is mouthful of munchables...
Love you more than I know how to measure.

Laughter said...

Yay, Claire, I love you. :-D

Thank you for the post, good stuff.

Marie said...

Recently I've had to deal with when you forgive and it still hurts... and maybe inside I haven't forvgiven, or did but than took up the "burden" again... sometimes I think we have to work out the forgiveness, like forgive again... and again... and finally relieze just to let it go, especially when it wounds deeply, and let God deal with it and not "worry" about it anymore. To move beyond what they did, and realize, if it was someone close that they really do love you and maybe they did or said something stupid and just to move on.

It's a process, and emotional process and a choice, even though people can really wound you, even if they are part of the body... kinda like I hurt myself sometimes... like I may step on my own toes or scratch myself...like the analogy...a little cheesy!:)

hey I hope things get better. Have a restful and isolated sabbath, that might help.

Another thing that has helped me before is to talk out your feelings and pain...

May not apply but sometimes if you're just ishy, out of sorts, and upset for reasons you may not know, maybe you're hurt by someone and need to forgive... went through that this week myself...

Alot of what I'm saying is what I've done and will go through again...

if anything doesn't apply just throw it out the window, but it'd be great if anything helped... because you never know when someone will "say" something and it has a little nugget of truth in it...
I'll pray for you:) love ya too:)

CARmelo said...

umm....what can I say that would be redundant with the other posts...I remember watching something on the discovery channel about monks...and really desiring that because I knew that I wouldn't have to deal with people and then it would make it easier to focus on God. I also realize that, like you said, love is not free of pain. I compare it to training for some Olympic event...all the pain you must endure for that oppurtunity...I would take a guess that those that improve aren't focusing on the pain but the reward...that in a relationship(friendship and otherwise)that their is times where you take inventory and consider it all....but the thing I struggle with is having God's point of view...y'know being able to love or care for someone that has hurt you...i.e. the whole Corrie Ten Boom thing....but I guess that is God's grace....and may you find it...man this was a really good Post...one that spurred a lot of conversation...no?

lis said...

Thanks, Claire (and all) I needed that! Or you! :O) It's good to be reminded that I need community. Good to be reminded that this too shall pass...so meanwhile, why not chill and know that He is God? Or to put it a little more poetically,

"Ye trusting saints, fresh courage take:
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head."

Delightfully, almost comically encouraging, no?

Thanks again1

Loren said...

just wanted to let you know that i feel you, and am there with those same thoughts and questions more often than not. i don't understand and haven't found a solution, except crying out and being as open and honest with God and others, which it seems like you do a much better job of than I. thanks for sharing and letting others realize that we're not alone in this wanting to be alone thing.