“I think I’m going to die today…” HAVE YOU EVER HAD THIS THOUGHT?
My heart was beating rapidly, my body temp was up, my stomach was feeling queasy- I’ve rarely felt that afraid.
One week ago, I was riding the Metra train into Chicago to enjoy a concert. It was just a train ride- and, ironically, a pleasant one as well. You know that look when sunlight amplifies colors, when green seems REALLY green, the sky is more than blue- it seems to have depth like an inverted clear-water ocean, and the earth (soil) has a sort of halo to it? That’s what I saw as I looked out of the train car window, listening to “The Ark” (Final Fantasy: Lightning Returns- listen here). Taking that line for the first time, listening to that piece, and seeing familiar neighborhoods from a new perspective… it was beautiful.
That was my first thought.
Another thought came to me: “You should tell your parents you love them.” As a believer in Christ, I’ve learned to recognize that voice as the Holy Spirit. So, I texted my parents (I’m blessed to have 2 moms, and 2 dads) that I loved them. That felt really good!
Then another thought came: “You should pray for them. Pray that they would be okay if you passed.” That was confusing, but I started to pray- that God would be with them if I should go; that He would leave them with fond memories of me and an ever present validation that I was okay; that He would overwhelm feelings of loss with an awareness of His presence- like the feeling you get when a loved one wraps their arms around you, and you feel their warmth and smell their scent (my biological mom usually smells like candied apples and my step mom reminds me of pastries).
Then ANOTHER thought came: “You should ask God to forgive your sins right now, while you have a chance.” Now, I’m growing concerned- but I pray: “God, please forgive me of the wrongs I’ve committed against you, knowing and not knowing. Forgive me of the wrongs done to me that I refused to pardon. Forgive me if I’ve hurt anyone, or passed on the opportunity to do good for someone. I hope that, when I leave this world, people can say that I made it a little better.”
“God, am I going to die?” I asked earnestly, because I’ve rarely had such strong, clear, subsequent thoughts at one time. “Please don’t take me now! I have so much that I haven’t done! I’m not ready!” Frantically, maybe irrationally, definitely silently (imperceptible to my fellow riders), I pleaded with God to give me more time. I thought about the things I ‘wanted,’ but hadn’t really worked towards- a family of my own, a romantic relationship, a successful career, a voice to the issues of the world, to see more of the world… I hadn’t done these things. MOREOVER, I was afraid of how dying would feel. “Please God, Don’t let it hurt…”
I am glad to be alive today to recount this story, but it shook me.
Can I confess something to you?
Sometimes, I fear that I am not special. What does not being special mean? It could be that your dreams come true, or that they don’t. But, in either case, when you die, the earth would not alter it’s speed even one nano-meter; it would not alter it’s temperature even one nano-degree. Faced with that:
DOES WHAT I WANT MATTER?
DOES IT NEED TO MATTER?
I keep seeking a ‘savior’ (with a lower-case ‘s’). I keep waiting for a phantom validation… not knowing which, or what type, or from whom, but with the vaguest notion that I’ll know it when I see it. There are these perpetual desires I have for recognition, but when I get recognition, it doesn’t seem to positively affect my sense of worth. I’m just so AFRAID that maybe, I’m not as smart as -just smart- as hope I am and as I think I am. Because in the past, when the time came to show my intelligence, or ability, I faltered. Those failures stay with me and return to me way more often than I’d like. I hate it, because it bleeds into every one of my desires…
Example: I’ve had this blog for several months before I wrote my first entry. I thought that I had a story, a perspective, and a history worth sharing. I hoped that I could connect with people in a way I hadn’t before. It’s just that I couldn’t shake that “what if” thinking- and those memories of failure so vivid, it was like being transported to the past to live them again, like it was happening for the first time. It drained me of the power to move. I needed permission to do it. I needed validation. The first entry was done without it- because I felt so strongly, the sensation caused me to override my timidity. Fortunately, this entry had some validation from a really special person in my life. So, with trepidation, I complete this post and make some commitments, so that those who read, and those who care, will engage and keep me accountable.
Here’s what you can expect to read about in the near future on this blog:
How I lost 75 pounds…: I used to be 245 lbs. This will be the story of how that changed. Hopefully the information can help anyone interested…
Why I don’t attend church anymore…: I am a Christian man. I am also gay (apologies to those who didn’t know until now. I’m willing to talk with you about it). I want to relate my thoughts and questions on what this means…
Wading into politics…: As we all, I’ve got some strong feelings about our government (federal, state, county, local). I want to share and hear from others… who I know are equally opinionated. At least I hope you are…
Music, composing and listening…: This is a passion for me, so I hope that I can share some work of my own and hear some feedback. I also hope to recommend some pieces not well-traveled or trafficked, to enrich you. I need suggestions too!
Books…: Have you ever read The Bible, Giant in the Senate, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Between the World and Me…? What did you think about them, or others to come? Here’s what I thought…
???…: Not sure what comes next, but when life happens it’s supposed to change us. I want to commit to sharing about those changes, asking questions, and hearing from all of you, who’ve lived unique lives not my own. What do you think? Honestly, I hope you are looking forward to it.
As you can tell, I don’t have the answers to this “special” question. I don’t have the solution to needing external validation. I don’t have it all together, but I hope this was worth your time… because, as paradoxical as it seems, I know you are all special. Crazy, right?
Truthfully, I’m hoping that this blog is special.
I hope I know what special means.
I hope I can reach my aims. I hope I can reach my aims.
I hope I can make success happen.
I hope I can make myself special.
I hope I am special regardless.