Where we wrestle with the sublime, mysterious, powerful and often frustrating paradox of God's necessary grace.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Grace at DefCon1


Yesterday was a bad day.

Not the worst I've experienced, but close. I lost my temper while posting on a message board and committed the sin of posting while pissed (off). I had been angry for a few hours prior, and when I saw yet another self-righteous poster celebrating his ignorance and belligerence by painting those who disagreed with his political opinions as fools and criminals, I went to DefCon 1. Do not pass Go, do not collect my thoughts and post rationally.

I posted a blistering attack, dropped the F-bomb a few times, made a personal attack on another board member.

The board admin sent me a hasty and angry email, telling me I'd broken two of the several guidelines governing to board and I needed to apologize and take a time-out.

I was still seething so I replied, "You got it" and posted in the same thread a terse apology for my language and my attack. It was more rote than heart-felt, but I didn't want to be suspended or booted from the board. The admin later emailed me privately in concern over my vitriolic post, and this is my reply to her:
K.--;

I don't blame you for doing your job--not at all. In your shoes I may have done the same. Thank you for doing your job. (Trust me, that cost me something to say but I meant it.)

I'm so angry right now...I guess "enraged" would be a better word. I can point to all sorts of bullshit in my life and on [the board] as causes, but that's game-playing. I'm not really sure why. Inside me is white-hot. I have no desire to go on a rampage of any kind or hurt anyone. This rage is amorphous and without target.

I burned down my profile because I was sick of it. I was sick of posting as if I were a smart-ass 14 yr old pimply teen and as a result, people justifiably expecting nothing more from me than a joke or a smart comment. I was sick of my profile's stupid jokes and the puerile writing and my prattling on and on about God's grace when to my shame I stand revealed in my eyes as a hypocrite, real and concrete, not the mere papier-mache likeness that obscured my own sins and character defects [from everyone else but me].

So now I stand in desperate, howling need of grace, screaming both my rage and my raging need for it at the top of my inner voice. So, the short answer is, no, I'm not okay.

I'm spending too much time on [the board] and it's not a good thing, so a vacation is in order. It may be only a day or three, perhaps longer, I don't know. I consider you my friend as well and I apologize for my part in us losing touch.

Just between you and me, right now I'm struggling with depression. Even now, when I'm head down in the toilet and gargling, I know I'll come out of this okay. I know God's grace really is sufficient no matter my circumstances. Maybe you think my reliance on grace is a neurosis, and if I'm honest, I have to admit that's possible.

Looking at that and tasting it, tho, I don't believe it is. This feels like I'm in the shit for a season, however long that is, and I choose (with much muttering, ill-grace and a sour look) to trust Someone bigger than myself to make things right.

I'm still responsible for my choices and my beliefs and attitudes, tho. I don't get a "Get of Clinical Depression Free" card. A friend has given me the phone number of a reputable psychologist here in town and I'll be calling her tomorrow to set up an initial appointment. Should you like, please send a prayer or good thoughts my way.

Oh--a final thought. My situation has the potential to make things awkward between us. That doesn't have to happen. I want you to know our friendship is undamaged and you don't have to walk on eggshells should you call or email me. Feel free to ask me anything you like. I reserve the right to answer, but I'm not made of glass. If I can survive 18 years growing up in my family, this should be cream gravy.

Warm regards,

With much affection,

--Ken

I don't know if this invalidates everything I've posted on this site, I hope not. Perhaps to some people it does. I would ask those people to please re-read the caption on the title page of this blog. Notice the word "wrestle." Notice I didn't say "rejoice in victory" or "stroll." I watched Olympic wrestling today, and at the end of the second round, both fighters were scuffed, contused, bruised, exhausted and gasping for air. In any honest struggle with God, we're going to get our asses kicked and like Jacob limping, we'll bear the marks ever after. In my opinion those are marks to be proud of because they mean a faith worth contendiung for in a God who's real.

I refuse to promise I'll always be happy-clappy on here. Life just doesn't work that way. But I can promise I'm not a full-time miserable bastard, either.

I can also promise God will always be God. And that will piss you off at times. It certainly does me.

Peace and grace to you.

Update: Today is a better day. Lamentations 3:22-24 "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'"

3 comments:

editor said...

Ken,

To say that you are a child of God, is to admit to yourself,
"I am as God created."

A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

And, I like you, so imagine the joy you'll bring me when I can envision you laughing again.

Take care, my friend.

Rozenkraai said...

this post burns brightly with honesty, and that is a kind of grace. it moved me to share this poem with you, given to me once, after i had burned brightly with such white hot honesty as yours here:
"Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is."
~~Wendell Berry
'A Warning to My Readers'

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken..I messaged you on TBD..I hope you check it.
Hugs ~ Jadax