What i learned while i was away

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Wondering if i still have the knack for this. Or the stomach. I was so driven, so committed, so wonderfully enthralled such a short time ago, but so much has changed since then. Other things have just seemed to loom larger. i am a little embarrassed at this point that i made such a big deal out of the importance of writing in my life, although i am not sure if this is because i was right or not about that importance. Either way, makes me look kind of foolish. Either it is not important, and i allowed it to take over, in which case i am obsessive and fickle, or it is important and i haven’t done it in months, in which case i am simply lazy and sluggish. Either way there is a weakness involved; i am like a building in constant danger of collapse. This isn’t the result of wear or age as in the case of some buildings, though there has been plenty of use, but rather the result of neglect. i have forgotten to install certain mandatory frameworks that contribute to structural integrity. i have skipped over essential elements of the building code to save time and effort. (Something like that. My sense of metaphor atrophies.)

Recent events have actually highlighted this in my life somewhat strongly, and through the process i have actually learned a little bit about weakness. Some time ago i learned that self-deprecation and arrogance were not opposites as they may be defined, but were in principle two sides of the same egoist coin. They were, at root, exactly the same sin: the sin of overt self-focus. Whether that focus manifests itself as depression or haughtiness depends largely on whether or not the person has had good fortune. The sin itself remains the same.

Frailty, i have learned, is much the same. It may seem to be the opposite of over-reliance on one’s own strength, but in reality the lie at its heart is identical. Those who rely merely on their own strength are clearly not in recognition that it is the Lord who gives them strength. They are obviously not acknowledging that there will be times when human strength is insufficient, and that all strength ultimately comes from the Lord. It is no different for those who, by believing they are weak and frail, commit to idleness or inaction. They too believe the same lie: that the Lord does not provide all strength.

There have been many changes in my life in the past few months, some of which i may delve into at some point, but all of which have been both a difficulty and a blessing. These have tested my resolve lately, and i have been found wanting. i have fallen into the trap, the old familiar trap, of believing that i am incapable; that i am not adequate to the task, whatever the task may be. Most often, that task was loving my wife well. It is easy when i am tired and stressed to believe that i do not have the strength to have patience with her or to be kind. And this may be true. But this is not an end result, merely a jumping-off point. There is actually value in recognizing my weakness, so long as it leads me to the cross, where i may be replenished. If instead, as it has lately, it leads me to self-pity or to the hollow comforts of ineptitude, then all value in it is lost.

Looking back on this post, i realize that what is missing is the anecdotal element of a good blog, and that there are no specifics herein. i also can recognize that the form is a bit sloppy and undefined. Don’t worry, i’ll get there. It will just take a little time to get my chops back. But this, too, is part of strength: committing to be just a bit better next time.

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