Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chained, The Crabby Old Man Within Me, and Change

For some reason, I have had these reoccurring thoughts of late.  About people who get stuck in life.  And about how I fear one of those people might be, well, me.

I have been wondering about how we can chain ourselves to the ground, restricting the arc of our lives by our own inability to see what is really going on around us.  Or by our inability to change.  And how we are unable to move from those "stuck places".  This may be the root of much of the bewilderment, confusion, and pain we experience.  I have been thinking about these things.  We make subtle choices to become stuck.  It's easier to be stuck than to get up and move, or so we think.  These things don't just happen.  It's really not meant to be like this.  This wasn't supposed to be.

Becoming "Self Aware"

There has been much talk in recent years about becoming "self-aware", particularly among those of us who have had the luxury of spending a little time and money on psychotherapy.  To be self-aware is defined as,  "awareness of yourself as an individual or of your own being and actions and thoughts".  In shorthand, this means that we might simply "get ourselves", and hopefully, most of the time, be better able to understand why we behave the way we do.  Or so we hope.  So I hope.

Not Me, I am All Better
But over the past several years, I have often found myself making the sadly self righteous comment that someone I know, he or she, this person or that, is "not very self aware".  I say this when I feel that someone is not "getting it" about how they are behaving, or what they are doing to themselves or others by their actions or their inability to change.  Why they can't deal with that character flaw they have, or that difficult relationship, or that troublesome child, or that impossibly stupid recurring situation.  Things never seem to change.  Clearly, they are stuck.  And I think I know why.

I think I have it all figured out.  Those people, they are simply not very self aware.

As if I am.  As if I really do "get it".  As if I am all put together.  When I think this through, I then wonder if I am not becoming a judgmental and crabby old man.  At 52.  What a sobering thought that is.

The Truth
I should know better.  I should know we all stumble through this life, sometimes with what seems to be just enough available light in front of us to take the next step forward.  We are not very good at this becoming adults and growing up stuff.  Life is bewildering and mysterious.  Friends come and go, a loved one becomes deathly ill, a relationship becomes irreparably broken, we loose a job, and we are confounded by the separation and pain around us.  We feel chained to the ground, as if we have become some kind of modern day Gulliver, unable to move.  Sometimes, it seems to make no sense at all.

And then, I hear, again,  this story of choices, for what seemed like the first time all over again.  A Story of Investment.  A story meant for me.  In particular, the last lines, 
"And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb."  
Wait a minute.  What is this about?  Was Jesus an entrepreneur?  Is this story really just about money?  Is that all that's here?  But wait, there is something more.

Maybe God is calling us, through the echos of history, to take risks with our lives.  To step out of the comfort zone.  To loosen our own chains.  You know the ones.  The chains of self doubt, of insecurity, of fear of change, of timidity, of doubt.  The changes that restrict us from changing.  From becoming more than we are.

I think He wants to start with that crabby old man that is trying to emerge from within me.
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