Extremely Half-Awake

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Note: I swear, this thing picks up and becomes profound about 1/3rd of the way through. But the context is necessary. This is a hyper-cornerstone.

I can’t quite understand why I feel the way I do about her. ‘Tis a new desire: It seems that all I want from her now is to get to know her better.

I feel driven to ask her about her life and make conversation with her. Ah. It might be just that: I just want to make conversation with her. So it goes back to the other desire of having her attention. It wouldn’t exactly be having her attention, though. More like she’d be giving me something to pay attention to, namely, her and who she is. But why do I even want to know her?

Why do I want to see her? Why do I want to enjoy her presence, who she is when she is most herself? Perhaps it’s a lesson in appreciating people for who they are and not just what they can do for me. I am content to stop and stare at her, granted she gives me something to stare at. Bad analogy, I mean to say that I’m content to enjoy her for who she is, not only for how she could serve me. She’s not useful to me. I just like having her around, being herself towards me. This kind of attraction is pretty foreign to me.

Most other people I appreciate are people who have been of some service to me. My best friends are the ones that build me up. My closest companions are people who consistently made themselves available to me or invited me over to spend time doing anything at all. I go to them for specific reasons: for advice, or for comfort. And they might come to me for the same reasons. I’m glad to oblige. It’s a joyful give and receive.

But I don’t desire the same thing from her. The only thing I want from her is for her to be around, to be herself around me. I want to know her, that’s it. I just enjoy her for who she is.

I wouldn’t put this kind of appreciation above the give-and-receive kind. I don’t exactly value one more than the other. This… needless appreciation is just something I don’t experience very often. (I guess it could be called ‘love’ in that romantic, lovey-dovey sort of way. But names don’t mean much these days.) It’s foreign so I… I’m a little confused about it. Just a little bit.

I’m confused about appreciating people for who they are. I don’t do it often. I don’t have heroes or role models. No, not really. What may be my one role model, I only looked up online in order to see if the story of his life could give me a clue for how to be a little more successful in mine. (Honestly, no one call me selfless.)

I like people who are useful to me. I might be scarier than my older sister. She masks her selflessness in selfishness. I mask my selfishness in selflessness. I act all warm and tender when really, I might be a secret sociopath. (Nah, I’m a little too emotional for that. And not even a little bit charming.) I like people who are useful to me but I hear that I’m supposed to love God in a different way.

I’m supposed to love Jesus the way I appreciate this girl who is useless to me.

Take this all with a big block of salt, guys. I’m just a kid, I don’t actually know what I’m saying.

Hard to find where I originally heard this question, so I’ll just speak from memory: If Heaven had the greatest food, the most beautiful views of nature, (lesbi-honest, the greatest sex), all that, but Jesus wasn’t there, would I want to be there?

I call it efficiency, other people might call it laziness; either way, I always want the most I can get for the what I put in. Christianity seemed that way to me. Jesus seemed like a friend like all my other friends: I hung out with them, talked to them, because they were useful to me. Ain’t no shame in this. No ill to them that they probably came to me for the same reasons. We came together to lick each others’ wounds, to lean on each other, or at least to avoid loneliness. I don’t think there’s shame in walking towards God this way, either. We need His salvation, His free gift that redeems us. But I hear we (Christians) are called to love Him in another way, as well.

I hear that we’re called to love Him as lovers (seem to) do, not only seeing Him as our provider, to whom we should be grateful, but also seeing Him as someone beautiful to be appreciated regardless of His service to us.

I hear that I’m to love Him in the same (kind of) way that I feel inclined to appreciate this girl who is useless to me. I want to know her although she’s not got a shoulder to lean on, although she’s not got much of an ear to listen to my problems, worries, concerns. She’s terrible at conversations (though I admit, no one’s obligated to be interested in what they’re not) and she’s fickle. She seems only to perk up and contribute when I’m talking to her about her. (She seems to be courteous once satisfied though, asking me what I ask her.)

But I should stop talking about her before I get too analytical. Methodical. (Dno, I get sort of stressed when I believe I understand how she works. If I understand, then I should be able to manipulate. And if I’m not happy with how she acts around me and I understand her, then I can only blame myself for not having made her act in a certain way to satisfy me. The burden of being in control, etc. Control is icky, too. Manipulation? Kimochi warui desu.)

As y’all can probably tell, she’s a little less than useless to me. (Oh, my peace. Where’d you go?)  So how much more should I love someone, really appreciate them for who they are, when they’re past useless and obviously useful? Why are most people only attractive to me as far as their usefulness to me goes?

There’s a whole realm of appreciation that seems to be out of my control. I can’t exactly control my desire for that girl; I don’t even know why it’s there. And I can’t exactly control my desire to appreciate Jesus as beautiful, regardless of His service to me. Perhaps His service is a part of His beauty. But as long as I focus on that service, I focus on myself and what I stand to gain. I’m not thankful, grateful. I’m insatiable, unsatisfied.

Something’s missing.

Anyway, while it’s on my mind, what have I decided in regards to this girl?

It would be wrong for me to put her first. And of course, it would be wrong for me to sin in thought or behavior involving her. I can’t let a favour towards her hinder a service towards God. I can’t prioritize her over God, which means watching how I use my time and allocate my efforts.

Otherwise, I think most everything is fair game. It doesn’t seem sinful to desire to know her better. Doesn’t seem sinful to enjoy her company, her personality.

I need to remember to guard my peace, though. I can’t throw it away by expecting more from her than she actually feels like giving. If she’s fickle then I need to be fluid. I need to hold on to positive anchors in our relationship, keeping in mind that her mood is not her opinion of me, keeping in mind memories of the times she has demonstrated how open she feels she can be with me, given the right opportunities to express herself.

I hope it ain’t worldly to find a little peace in her. I believe that it’s just the truth; just a better, more objective perspective on things.

There’s a whole realm of appreciation that seems to be out of my control. I can’t exactly control my desire to appreciate Jesus as beautiful, regardless of His service to me. Perhaps His service is a part of His beauty. But as long as I focus on that service, I focus on myself and what I stand to gain.

I’ve been given peace for now, peace in my relationship with the woman I seem to be interested in in a foreign way. But life won’t always be like this. It sure wasn’t for the longest time. Perhaps I’ve been given this peace, now that I know I need to find peace elsewhere. The world won’t always afford me anchors. I need to find my chief anchor in God.

Perhaps His service is a part of His beauty… But as long as I focus on His service, I focus on myself and what I stand to gain.

I’ve found a kind of appreciation that doesn’t rely on service. And something is missing. I hear that I should love God apart from what I stand to gain from Him, appreciate Him because He’s beautiful.

This all reminds me of CS Lewis’ closing remarks in his book The Four Loves.

“It is not that we shall be asked to turn from them [our earthly loves], so dearly familiar, to a stranger. When we see the face of God we shall know that we have always known it.”

“We shall have turned… from the portraits to the Original, from the rivulets to the fountain, from the creatures He made lovable to Love Himself… We shall all find them in Him. By loving Him more than them we shall love them more than we do now.”

“[God] can awake in man, towards Himself, a supernatural Appreciative Love. This is of all gifts the most to be desired. Here, not in our natural loves, nor even in ethics, lies the true centre of all human and angelic life. With this all things are possible.”

Perhaps, for many of us, all experience merely defines, so to speak, the shape of that gap where our love of God ought to be.

“…To become increasingly aware of our unawareness till we feel like men who should stand beside a great [waterfall] and hear no noise, or like a man in a story who looks in a mirror and finds no face…”

“To know that one is dreaming is to be no longer perfectly asleep. But for news of the fully waking world you must go to my betters.”

My appreciation towards her has made me aware of a whole new kind of appreciation. My stress in regards to her has made me realize that I need a stronger anchor.

I feel very half-awake now.

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