Confessions of a sociopath saved by grace:  or, I’m trapped in a life that didn’t want me…

Being temporary looks very much like being a sociopath… It’s a subtle difference to be sure, and I’m not sure that it’s not the same thing.  I know that I have been accused of worse in my life when I wasn’t being the man that God has called me to be.

In many ways, being temporary is something of a hassle.  Nothing stays the same, and everything appears to blow with the winds.  Usually, you have to get used to introducing and reintroducing, and it is all about a good memory.  You become very adept at reading people: their emotions, thoughts, lies, etc.  Faces, facts, names, etc all come and go.  You become used to not getting used to things.  Nothing ever feels like home, or community.

Being temporary is also insidious.  Your attitudes and your humanity seem to become corrupted the longer you’re moving from place to place and face to face.  It means that people are expendable or eventually become that way.  You know that someone else will come along soon enough.  If you live long enough that way, you learn to focus on what you can “get out” of someone else.  It means that people sometimes are either taken advantage of or for granted.  And with the lack of emotional investment that normal people have, knowing boundaries and appropriate development of relationships in community is a totally foreign thing.

But, if someone’s heart is so inclined or has been given over to a more divine nature, God can use you make huge impacts on people.  The kind of life-changing-Jesus-get-the-credit types of changes that don’t happen that often.  To me, for years, I felt like that God created me to be a catalyst for others.  Something that instigates a reaction that doesn’t actually interact with the forces involved and doesn’t get used up in the process.  When you arrive into someone’s life and you know it’s only temporary, you can say those things that others have been saying for years.  But, because your voice isn’t familiar, people often give it more credence.  It’s actually human nature to pay attention to what is different, rather than what is constant.

For years, I used to muse to myself that if I actually had some inherent knowledge or some gift of wisdom to share with others, I would be great as a guest speaker on college campuses all over the place.  But, I never have ever been an expert on anything.  Another problem with being temporary, I never mastered anything substantial.  Except I know how to learn, and how to help others learn.  Now, I struggle to step forward after chasing down the elusive path to personal fulfillment with a career of my own choosing.  I’m too far removed from the classroom to think that I’d ever be a teacher again.  But, if I had the opportunity to come into a class, or a group… take a topic, expound on what the teacher is already doing… that sounds like something that fits who I have grown to be.

With a vulcanised reality looming ahead of me, I’m confined to having to continue going that direction.  I have to keep going or I’ll never leave Cape Coral.  This place has been the death of some really awful parts of me, and for that I’m grateful.  But, if I don’t get out of here, I will have nothing to show for my life when I am called home.  That is something that is anathema.  It creates a comfort zone.  I’ve never had a comfort zone before.  It creates an insulating wrap around me and my life.  I have never had that before.  While I rail against the affluence that eats at the spirituality around me, I realise it’s affecting me too.  I have a desire to settle down, and find a way to become comfortable.  For most of my life, the only comfort is that I didn’t have to open myself up very much, or I could pick and choose.  Hide behind the next wave of people, the next wave of experiences. 

Tomorrow’s path involves deliberately moving from a comfort zone, a place of shelter, to a place on my own.  For the first time ever, I would be moving to a place without the comfort of a safety net:  emotional, financial, etc.  And my purpose for moving there?  To become less than a temporary person.  To become someone intrinsically involved in a community so that people can start overcoming community-based conflicts and situations.  It sounds to me that even though I believe in a God who parts seas and started the world, I’m the wrong person to be put into a situation for the long haul.  Then again, there is little to me that makes sense anymore.

It’s really hard to change, to not change… sigh.

It is so hard to get used to living in one place, and now that I have a sense of that… it’s time to leave?  The Echo Within from Robert Benson is getting dog-eared from walking through it so often.  It’s so hard to hear the voice that God put within me that speaks to who I was created to be… especially with a lifetime of being temporary under my belt.  We were created to be in community, and we were created to last forever.  There are three things like that:  God, God’s Word, and people.  So the transformation from moment to eternity is really difficult to comprehend.  There are too many other voices that get in the way…

This transformational journey is going to be the death of my understanding, the death of my character, the death of my mannerisms, and the death of how I live my life.  Sounds about right to me.  Bring on the new people, situations, and experiences.  Maybe something will act as the catalyst to change a community from the inside out.