"Turns out a lot of people endure lives that are cages of sorts – they have grueling, mind-numbing work; they spend time with selfish relatives; they are lonesome. Me, I put myself in a cage by thinking task instead of pleasure . . . I worry that I don’t have whatever synapses you need to anticipate fun.”
- Amanda Robb, “Hi, My Name is Amanda . . . and I Might be an Alcoholic.” Oprah January 2007
One of the inherent dangers in getting close to other people is that eventually they are going to see your sh*t. And even if they don’t call you on it, you both know it’s there.
Not that I am getting close to Oprah or anything. But close enough now that with every magazine issue, she seems to bear my soul, saying, “You’re valuable, but really, what the hell is wrong with you?” And I always end up saying, “I don’t know.” And plus I add “Why do you have to be Oprah magazine? That sounds so lame. And get your stupid picture off of the color of every issue. You're so egotistical.”
But there it is.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I struggle with having fun. And when I do have fun, I struggle with guilty feelings over the time that I had having fun which could have been put towards some better more cosmic purpose. I physically CANNOT relax. I can’t just sit and do nothing. Echoes in my head of people telling me I can’t waste one minute for Jesus haunt me constantly. Sleeping in makes me feel like a heretic. And somewhere, somehow I got this impression that doing something you don’t want to do is far more valuable in terms of spiritual disciplines and heaven points than something that you do want to do. If I ENJOY ministry, then something is wrong.
My life is pretty regimented. Those who know me well know this too. Why do I need to book activities a week in advance? Because that way I know I won’t waste a single minute of my life to frivolousness. That I will have the maximum amount of impact on this world.
Even my weekly Sabbath nights are structured in ways which purposefully suck all of the fun out of everything. Do this, now do this. Don’t feel like it? Too bad! Discipline, discipline, discipline. I am a very disciplined individual, but not an especially happy individual, and I am beginning to think that these are connected. Even when I sit to watch TV, it is only for a specific time and ONLY because it is in my list of “things to do.” Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do it. When I am on the bus, and I am too tired to read, I try to read anyway, otherwise it is wasted time.
This is insanity.
It occurs to me that as much as I have struggled against it, I still find worth in what I do rather than who I am. My language and actions prove this over and over again. I’m not quite sure how to combat this.