Thursday, March 31, 2005

Is nothing sacred anymore?

In reading last night's entry, it is clear I was in the midst of a full blown pity party. Not that we aren't all prone to them. It is just funny to look at them in retrospect, and wonder what on earth we were thinking at the time that made life seem so incredibly bleak.

I feel I need to briefly mention Terri Schiavo, whose life came to an end this morning around 9 a.m. . As I've watched to procession of events, first from hearing about a woman in Florida who had been on life support for 14 years and her husband wanted to "pull the plug", to learning her name and details about her life, to seeing pictures of her, hearing her family's struggle as they fought to save the life of someone they loved, to hearing, with absolute incredulity, that court after court had decided that Terri Schiavo was not worthy of life, and was sentenced to die a cruel death, according to the wishes of her estranged and adulterous husband. It is a tragedy that goes beyond the death of one person. It is a tragic snapshot of our culture, where life has become a question of convenience and ease, and those who are unwanted, be it an unborn child or a sickly adult, can be disposed of with ease. Terri Schiavo has become a sacrificial lamb, only I am not entirely sure just what cause it is she has died for.

An interesting question was posed by a friend of mine as we talked about it tonight. She asked,
" Whose will has kept her alive all these years? God's will or man's?" It is a question to consider. Before all the advances in medicine made it possible to keep people alive through various forms of life support, people were not so easily snatched out of death's hand as they are today. Terri Schiavo was on a feeding tube, which is not life support, and certainly not an extensive means of life preservation. However, I do life support at times a question of God's will versus man's?

Tonight at Oasis, we sang the song "I Can Only Imagine". I could not help crying through this song as I realized that, despite the tragedy of Terri's death, she is now before Jesus, in His presence, in splendor that we can only imagine. Her suffering has ended. Many, many prayers went up for Terri, pleading with God for a miraculous rescue. For whatever His reasons, God said "no". My heart aches for her family and friends tonight, who loved her a great deal despite her extensive brain damage, despite the fact that she was not the Terri they knew 15 years ago. Still, in the midst of that tragedy is the realization that this is not the end for Terri, and she and her loved ones will be reunited in heaven, where she will no longer be imprisoned by a failing body or a damaged brain. She will be restored, will be as God intended her to be in His perfect plan for her. In this, I can rejoice.

However, I have to say that I have lost faith in the judicial system and in the moral fiber of America. More importantly, I am very concerned about the spiritual atmosphere in this country. At the risk of sounding "super spiritual", I do think there is something very evil at work when an innocent woman is sentenced to a cruel and needless death, and so many people are willing to turn a blind eye to it. It sickened me to see how hard the judges hearing this case worked to assure that Terri would not only die, but would die a horrific and painful death. This is not the America the I love. This is not the America that seeks to protect even its most vulnerable citizens. This is an America in transformation to something I do not recognize, cannot comprehend, with a future that is nothing short of frightening if it continues on this path of apathy.

In light of all this, it certainly makes my own personal struggles seem very small. So, with that, I'll close for tonight. I will likely resume my own personal ramblings tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tell me if you've already heard this one...

I suppose it's something we all deal with now and then, those feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, when we feel like nothing we do is right. For some of us, those feelings happen more often than not. We try to fight them. We try to master them. We try to stifle them, bury them, live as though they are not there. And then, just when it seems that, finally, we are free from their grip, we feel the icy painful squeeze of phantasmic humiliations, and we are reminded of the prison we are living in.

And so it has been with me, for as long as I can remember. I do not recall any time in my life where I've been able to think, "You know, I'm really not half bad. I'm actually pretty good at this thing I've set my mind to doing. I'm adequate, I'm able...I feel like a real, worthwhile human being."

Of course, I suppose only characters in bad novels actually self-talk like that, but you get what I mean. I don't recall ever once, even for a fleeting moment, feeling the security blanket of confidence wrapped around me, keeping me safe, keeping me impervious to the monsters hiding in the closet.

I have often wondered what it would feel like to really feel that confident. And then I think, despite all the hype about the importance of confidence, I wonder how many people actually possess that quality? That singular characteristic that surpasses all others and makes them capable of doing nearly anything? I do not know of many truly confident people.

This is the part where, as a Christian, I am supposed to talk about how my relationship with Christ weighs in on this crisis of confidence. I am supposed to talk about the joy I feel in knowing my worth in Christ, and that I am of immeasurable value to the Creator of the universe. I am supposed to mention, at least briefly, that I am victorious over this ongoing struggle to be, simply because of my belief in Christ. And, in a rather distant, abstract sense, I do believe all of those things. A part of me knows they are true. Yet I cannot seem to bring those truths to my day to day struggle for a justified existence. They are words in a book, a thought, the stuff of someone else's experience.

So here I sit tonight, feeling stupid and inadequate, wanting to crawl into a hole and remain there until I somehow disappear altogether, or am forgotten and can start over again with no reminders of past failures in the faces of those who know me.

I realize it is unlikely I would ever be able to disappear, although I do often daydream about packing up my things, moving some place where nobody knows me, and just starting over again somehow. But I suppose that sort of thing only works in fiction. Your past always catches up with you, and runs up behind you to kick you in the arse when you least expect it.

It is on nights like this when I feel especially inadequate that I wish I still had a problem with alcoholism.

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