I feel empty, like a frying pan with a tiny, lonely droplet of water, left on the stove until it evaporates and leaves behind the nothingness and the tiny dirt flecks the water holds. What kind of poison is left in my soul with nothing to irrigate and flush it out? Someone keeps adding water, a droplet at a time, which I’m grateful for in a way. But the droplet keeps evaporating, leaving me dryer than before, and a desert of sandy grit is left behind, caking and clogging my soul. There isn’t even a hot wind to move the grainy distillate away, it’s just climate controlled barely cold that I can’t feel warm in. There is no comfort, there is no rest, there is no peace. And I’m not thirsty. I don’t even want the water any more, unless and until it’s actually enough to make a difference.
I’ve heard when you’re freezing to death your body actually hallucinates that it’s warm.
I’m supposed to be thirsty. So maybe my soul is dying.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.- Matthew 5:6
I used to be hungry and thirsty for righteousness, but it’s been left unsatisfied so long I turned my thoughts selfishly inward. There is no righteousness in the world or in my soul, and nothing I say or don’t say can satisfy the emptiness. I’m grateful I don’t feel the thirst any more, because it’s been so dry so long.
47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, 48 therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you. – Deuteronomy 28
But I did. When it was good, I did all the same things I’m doing now, maybe even more than now, certainly better then than now. I even tried when I started to feel hunger and thirst and poverty, and it got me nowhere except more hunger, more thirst, and more poverty. So if You say I didn’t, let’s get this over with, shall we? I’m already feeling well enough destroyed, except for the tiny droplets that keep leaving behind the dry, desiccated distillate. It’s not even distillate I can sell, it’s worthless like I feel. If truth be told, I’m only really objecting to the poverty.
Where’s the blessing?
12b “I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”
13 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
but you will go thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame.
14 My servants will sing
out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out
from anguish of heart
and wail in brokenness of spirit. – Isaiah 65
I know I’m evil. Help me to do what is good. I tried to do what was good and wait for whatever the promises meant, and I kept waiting. I feel homeless and I’ve got a home, at least for now. When I was a kid it was so much simpler. I wish it were that simple now. I’m still waiting, but now I’ve gotten to the point in the drought where I don’t really give a shit any more if it rains or I die in the desert. I’ve always lived on the edge of a desert, never able to quite afford the real estate in the oasis. And it’s always kind of sucked. I just ignored it, celebrating when others were able to reach the water. But I don’t care any more. I’m self-aware enough to realize I need a little oasis time myself. Except the armed guards outside the gated community won’t let me in, unless it’s to bring tribute and then, just as quickly, leave. And I bring the weekly tribute, but I leave dissatisfied, while watching others eating fatted calf and drinking red wine.
I want more than meager survival existence. I want this:
10b I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10
Other translations say “more abundantly.” I want the fatted calf and the red wine. I want to share with my friends. (Luke 15) OK so where is that exactly? If there’s no abundance, what’s the point? If there’s no joy why should anyone join me, except for my faith in eternity, that everyone assumes is bogus? If the promises are for other people, what am I doing here? Every time I take a little of what I need, or worse, a little of what I want, I feel guilty for taking it, and then I either feel obligated or I am obligated and I have to figure out how to pay it back.
But You said:
28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
I didn’t make it up. I didn’t invent it says “in this age.” And I didn’t leave home and go to school thinking, if I do this, God will bless me. But He did, for a short season. I’ve been progressively more and more dry since about 2006. Have I already received all of it then?
I feel like a kid brother watching his sister sell girl scout cookies and I haven’t got $4 to buy myself a box. Mom bought some and I want just one, but I can’t have it because she said that’s for her friends at the party she’s hosting tonight. What I want, what I need, is right there in front of my face, and I’m not allowed to touch it. It’s right behind the door, but the door isn’t open to me, it’s locked tight. I’ve already lost the race, so it’s pointless to continue trying, but I’m this guy:
When I shared this feeling in the past with Christ following friends, the platitudes and pat answers abounded: “Seek God first (and all these things will be added unto you)” Well I sought and I’ve been seeking and I’m still seeking and I’m empty again, empty still,empty eternally and you’re not helping me, so fuck you for your triteness.
I’m sure there’s a corner of heaven reserved for these people, they try so hard to be nice and supportive and quote bible verses but they’re useless and worthless and don’t know it. Oh wait, that’s here:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’- Matthew 7
Or maybe, after all my supposed faith and trust in the afterlife, that’s how He’ll deal with me and my shit. Yeah, or maybe not, I don’t deal with demons, I only wrestle with my own personal ones. So I’ll still hold out hope.
I used to be able to celebrate the little victories, but the joy is dried up and I don’t feel them any more. Little victories are getting smaller and smaller. I went through my routine today without breakdown. My kids didn’t scream at me today. My wife didn’t fuss too much. At least she’s at arms length even though she’s keeping me at arms length. (But I feel like a contagious, dying (im)patient). Shit didn’t break and quit working on me today. Except at work, where something is broken and requires extra work doing something that should be automatic. (tiny tiny small letters: ) (smaller still) yay.
I still feel a major emptiness and I’m not having anything resembling “fun.” Everything I do seems futile, worthless, taken for granted, and utterly replaceable. I’m spinning wheels making no progress, with “fuel burning fast on an empty tank.”
If there was ever a day for it,