Monday, August 30, 2010

The Double-Edged Sword of Witness

It was one of those days. I had an early morning dental appointment and an afternoon headache. I spent the day chasing problems and not catching them. I didn't finish the tasks I'd set out for myself. I was so tired in the afternoon I was literally nodding off at my desk. And then just as I was about to head out the door, I ended up in a phone call with someone angry about a new task they're having to perform who sort of took it out on me. And although I didn't shout at them or anything, I kind of ended up saying, essentially, "that's just the way it is, and you're going to have to learn to deal with it." And I feel like I did a poor job of representing my company, which makes me furious with myself.

It's always tough, being a witness. I know I fail in the most important areas as well. The final nail in the coffin of my day was visiting the blog of a Catholic friend who once upon a time, back when I was being more introspective and less shallow in my posts, had a link back to my blog. That link is now gone. And I totally understand, though it felt a bit of a slap in the face. This hasn't been much of a Catholic blog lately. Not much of a Christian blog. It's mostly a bunch of materialistic (and sometimes whiny) thoughts about physical things and writing, and nothing more. Why? Largely because I feel like I can't write well enough or convincingly enough to represent my "company." I'm better off staying on the surface. I'm better off making small talk, because if I try to speak about big important things, I'll embarrass the family.

I'm not sure how to get past that fear. And maybe there's no call to, maybe I should let go of that guilt and just remove that quote I love so much at the top of my page, stop pretending to be anything more than a jumble of random vaguely writing related stuff. Maybe I should start a second blog where I try to sort out some of my more meaningful thoughts, or move my meaningless content posts to a new place. I'm not sure what my blog should be a lot of the time. Everyone else seems to have a unifying purpose. Mine seems to be pure vanity. And that makes me sad. I guess originally I hoped to post *some* of my fiction writing, but also hoped to think and share deep thoughts. Instead my deep thoughts (still too shallow, I feel, for public consumption) remain locked up tight in my private journal.

The other thing I've been struggling with, the other reason I've stayed away from my faith in my recent posts, is that I'm struggling with what I suppose one would call dryness. I go to church, talk about all these things with family, I go to early morning adoration on Wednesdays, I go through all the motions, and I could tell anyone in depth what I believe, but I don't *feel* a deep and committed belief most of the time. I don't feel anything. And how do you write through that?

I'll end off with this poem I wrote in adoration, as I grappled with that question.

So many have written of You:
words of beauty, sweetness, light beyond all measure.
I feel the writing longing,
but what poetry is in me?
I feel nothing.
What poetry can come of emptiness?

My soul walks in shadow;
fear and doubt howl
across the wind-swept plains of my existence
where I walk alone.
And yet I know that it is your love
that holds me in being.
I feel nothing,
but I know this--
and that must be enough for me.

1 comment:

mpclemens said...

Faith and belief are like any other human sensation: they wax and wane. I think it's unrealistic for anyone to say or think that they should be walking in a permanent bubble of spiritual bliss, like Glinda the Go(o)d Witch. (Not saying that you are setting unrealistic expectations, either!)

If anyone is guilty of letting their blog slide into crass commercialism, it would be yours truly.