Saturday, January 19, 2013

An[other] Apology

Over the years there have been a number of times I've had to apologize for making this blog too depressing. This is one of them.

Now I realize on one hand that life is often a very serious, dark affair––and it's not inappropriate to sometimes write in a way that reflects that gravity. But there's a fine line between writing with appropriate gravity, and writing in a way that becomes a narcissistic monument to masturbatory self-pity. (Yes, I just used the word masturbatory. Deal with it.) It's all too easy for me to slip into that for a number of reasons that I won't go into. What I will go into is why I realize it's wrong.

First, it's inaccurate, because anytime you decide to interpret everything through one feeling (or at least when I do––there may be some real writers out there who can pull it off) it inevitably becomes very skewed.

Second, it's destructive to me personally––and possibly to people reading it too. When I write things down, I'm usually arguing with myself the whole time about whether what I'm saying is true, or if I'm presenting it incorrectly. If I do manage to write something that's completely skewed and let myself get away with it, then it goes a long way to legitimizing it in my mind, even if it's mostly irrational. I hope that it's more difficult to persuade other people of my warped view of reality than it is myself––but maybe sometimes it isn't. That is a terrifying thought.

Third, (and this one could be reason 1.1) it's inaccurate.While on the one hand, I'm sometimes a very depressed and pathetic person, I'm also at the same time something else. As a Christian, I believe with all my heart that I'm redeemed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The actual outworking of that redemption in my life is a slow, painful, two-steps-back-for-every-one-forward process. It's a process that goes on while my life is full of things that shouldn't be there, like depression. But that it is a process doesn't change the fact that from the beginning, God sees me as if I've completed it. That is a huge, amazing fact, and it's a fact that is always there. So even when I'm legitimately losing, to think (or write) about it as if that's all that there is is one of the greatest inaccuracies of all time.

Forth, and finally, being depressed keeps me from focusing on others––which is something I really need to work at. Okay, so I guess the topic of this blog technically is my life experiences, but if I use it in a way that causes me to focus on myself in real life, then it's not doing anything to help me with the terrible fact that I don't think nearly enough about others. I was reading the old Pauline book of Philippians this morning after a terrible night of feeling sorry for myself over what a bad week I imagined myself to have had when I came to the second chapter. It was one of those "Wow" moments when you realize how far you've strayed from everything that you should be living for. Realizing that other people and their well-being should be a higher priority for me than my own is something that being depressed makes very difficult. And yet I suspect that realizing that very thing is probably the key to not being depressed.

So that was really the reason for this post. If you read this blog at all regularly, I want to apologize for how depressing the content has become lately. But much more than that––and this goes even if you've never read my blog before but have interacted with me in some way as a person––I want to apologize for having not been what I'm undeniably called to be: Someone who values others more than myself, and is concerned for their welfare more than my own.

If you're in either of those two groups––and the fact that you're reading this right now means you are, by the way––I sincerely and humbly apologize.

Very sorry.

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