I’ve figured since the semester has ended and I’m now left with a decently open summer to work and relax and think, I may as well resume blogging (it’s been more than two weeks since my last entry).
The busy nature of the end of the semester made it as such that I wasn’t adequately able to clear my head and think straight. Struggling to overcome the academic hardship I had brought upon myself through procrastination, catching up on late assignments, submitting papers at the last minute, and pleading for extra time definitely left its mark on this semester (and not in a good way). Most of the classes I was taking were actually quite easy, so easy that I brushed them aside to return to the mires of introspection and wrap myself once more in the familiar cold of depression. This has been a particularly difficult year for me, trying to pick up the pieces of myself in the aftermath of the manifested danger of investing too heavily in one person while trying to decide where I really stood in relation to God and faith. The most difficult portion, definitively, was realizing that the faith I professed I did not live out; that is, while I claimed to believe God was sufficient, my actions clearly showed that I did not.
Of course, the implications of such double-mindedness are far-reaching. I firmly hold that life must be considered holistically (and that compartmentalization simply does not work), so to give you a further glimpse into how my mind and thinking work, here is how I understood the implications of my own hypocrisy. If I claimed that God loves people, and God does not show partiality, then I had to accept that He loved me. But to reject it meant that I had to reject that He loved other people. All of the time and energy I had previously invested in trying to show people their worth before the Creator of the universe was thus being poured down the drain, so to speak; it was impossible for me to truly believe their worth while I loved some but hated others. It was further impossible (if there is such a thing as more than impossible) for me to believe their worth if I was trying to drag them into sin with me. And yet all the time I had spent (intermittently) in ministry went to nothing if I didn’t truly have the love of God in me (by definition of what the Word says and what my actions showed, I did not have the love of God in me). I actually wrote a song about the struggle between theoretical faith and practical doubt, and have played it several times for people who only thought it was simply meant to be poetry.
And here I wonder if I have the love of God in me even now; there are people who I cannot stomach to be around, people who I find myself speaking negatively of in secret, people who I deliberately avoid and otherwise blatantly ignore for the sole purpose of not having to subject myself to their mindless or otherwise irritating babble. I refuse to open myself up to people simply out of preemptive judgments I’ve made regarding their ability to comprehend anything in enough depth to make my talking to them at least worthwhile; often, I find myself feeling that I’m better off saving my breath. Conversely, I frequently withhold from posting an actual status update (versus simply sharing a link) on Facebook because I believe that nobody would even care and that I’m thus better off not even bothering to move my fingers across the keyboard to type the words.
I didn’t want to share this before, mostly because of how personal and immediate it was, but depression hit me harder this year than it ever had before. As the days drug on and on, the calendar began to blur together and some nights I found myself sitting catatonic in my room, unable to even move my thumbs to text someone for help, let alone open my mouth to talk to them had they actually arrived. Some nights, it was a struggle just to stay standing up in the shower and not collapse involuntarily. I numbed out harder than ever. Ascend the Hill sums up the feeling: “Someone make sense of this, I beg you now. Where is grace in this? Where is love in this? Our time is running out. This ruined city longs for the vengeance of our God, but we can’t see ’cause ashes fill us all. Broken bones, they still feel numb; oh, the mourning had begun. Corrupting ourselves, God save us now.” Being depressed in the midst of people who are full of joy is a bit of a two-edged sword; on the one hand, it’s encouraging to be around people who try to lift me up. On the other hand, it’s disheartening to see other people overcome something like depression to live lives full of joy while I still feel stuck in this pit. Eventually, even those who promise to stick around move on to more lively friends (save one, a person for whom I cannot express how much I am grateful for).
Nonetheless, what is easily the most important moment of the year came about roughly a month ago. In August/September, I decided to ignore Christianity and effectively left it behind to pursue my own selfishness, despite having returned to bible college. In December, after a dear friend pleaded with me to at least try to hold on, I decided not to denounce the faith, but at least to ride things out for a while so I could have time to riddle some things out. And then, last month, I found myself utterly face-to-face with the reality of Jesus (and of course the far-reaching implications of such), and knew I finally had to get off the fence and make a decision: either leave my selfishness behind and return to Jesus, or completely harden my heart, depart the faith, leave Central, and allow my selfishness to rule me for the rest of my life.
I wasn’t going to make a decision willy-nilly, but I also wasn’t going to automatically rule one way or the other out of fear. It wasn’t until someone (I honestly can’t remember who) reminded me of the love of Christ and how real it actually is that I made up my mind to return to faith and follow Jesus. I’m actually going to church again.
Last Sunday I went to a music store with a friend and played an electric guitar for only the second time since I think January of 2014. The first time was at the music store last fall, and I hated it; playing brought about a swell of emotional memories that I couldn’t handle. I actually had to put it down and walk out of the store. This time around, things were different. I picked up a 7-string and played a little bit of Invisible Year (if you’ve listened to Invisible, you’ve heard the original concept and should at least have an idea), and to my surprise, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long, long time: passion. I felt alive, like I was falling in love. My hands remembered the notes and the structure of the song better than my mind did, and I was surprised to hear myself playing the full spectrum of rhythm and lead simultaneously and without struggle. It was as though my body had been waiting for the familiar feel of a 7-string guitar neck so it could resume its old forte. I think that after I move in December, if I end up where I think I might, I’ll have to start saving to get an electric and amp for the studio.
Speaking of the studio, I’ve officially kicked off “project Toaster.” To give you a little insight, “The Toaster” is actually a name I’ve given to a computer I’ll be building sometime this fall specifically for audio production and video editing. Although I did purchase the first part for it already, it could be a while before I buy other parts. This comes for a couple reasons; first, most of the parts are very expensive and my bank account couldn’t handle trying to purchase them all at once, and second, I’m only buying parts as I find excellent deals on them. In other words, I’m shopping for parts as I can afford them, and buying only when the market is just right. That said, here is a list of parts that will be going into it. Certain parts, like drives (both solid state drives and hard disk drives) are naturally bound by the the speed of technological advancement to get cheaper as time goes on, so I won’t be buying those until much closer to the build date. Other parts, like the CPU (processor), motherboard, and case, won’t be getting any cheaper for at least a couple years, and I’ll have to watch the prices daily to make sure I catch them at just the right time. Why monitor the market so closely? Simply put, to stay close to my budget; if I purchased all of the parts at full price, I would be paying well over $1700 to build this thing; I would very much like to see how close to $1500 I can push it down.
And speaking of close, it is getting close to midnight, so I must get some sleep. I thought I would come up with some super cool conclusion to this post, but I suppose not. At least I’m blogging, huh?