Maximillian Amadeus Banzai (banzai) wrote,
Maximillian Amadeus Banzai

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Geppetto's boy

A dear friend wrote a comment in my journal that is moving my heart. To keep her from feeling too exposed and vulnerable, I've screened it and am keeping her identity to myself (let me know if you want to be identified). Tonight, she writes:
I'm kind of hurting tonight, in an odd way. Would you mind telling me - think of it as an extension to the whole three-question thing - how you keep from putting a box around who you should be? Sometimes I long so much to be real, but find that the truth doesn't seem to be in me. I know it's not supposed to be; it's in Him, but why is there this queer ache in my heart tonight? And why are there tears in my eyes all of a sudden?

You don't have to answer. I think I see your LJ as a kind of black hole sometimes, as though there's this fictional character creating tales of a life. But you are a real person with a real life most likely a bit unnerved right now. And that's OK. If I had the time, patience or energy I would type this, copy it into a private LJ entry, save it and later think, "Phew, I'm glad I didn't actually submit that." Instead I'm going to hit the square box on the left.
I want to answer, my friend, if only to see if I have an answer at all, and to learn to admit where I do not.

You see, I'm hurting too, and it's not the kind of ache that I can easily wrap in words and say, "Lord, fix this!" It's pervasive—I look in the mirror and don't like some of the physical of what I see, and don't even have a clue what I see beyond that anymore.

I saw you online earlier and thought to say hello, but I was tired from a twelve-hour workday and hadn't yet read your comment. I'm sorry. Once I read it, I knew I had missed an opportunity to be present. Sometimes I wonder if we haven't turned these number-crunching machines in front of us into amazing communication devices to try to satisfy the simple, unyielding desire to know someone else is out there. Next time, I'll try to say hello.

How do I keep from putting a box around who I should be? If I have had any success in this, it has been, in large part, through failure. Failure to measure up, failure to meet anyone's expectations (including my own), failure to come through, failure to love or be loved, failure to fit. I keep from putting a box around me because none of them work, and I don't work inside any of them.

It doesn't mean I don't try; I've tried dozens of names and faces and masks. Sometimes this is one of them. But I don't know who I am. I really don't, and most of this journal is my struggle to figure it out, at the very least to document the attempt. There are ghosts that may never rest, questions I may never have answered, and all of them lead to the big two: "Who am I? Why am I here?" He's the only One I can look to for answers anymore, and that's a grace.

We are all, perhaps, little Pinocchios, crafted in love and wanting above all to become real. Even so, we tell lies that make our noses grow. We go our own way, selling ourselves into slavery and devolving into braying asses. We follow our paths until they take us into the belly of the whale itself. But in our case, our efforts won't make us real, nor will our consciences. Our Abba is far greater than a mere bumbling Geppetto, and He is making us real in Christ day by day.

We live in a time of tension—His Spirit is quickening our lives in the here and now, yet we must also live with the fact that being fully real is not yet ours. When we feel the "not yets," know that each is attached to a promise our Abba will fulfill. He is faithful, and trusting Him is central to becoming real. He could make us real without the trust, no doubt, but would we ever learn His heart for us? Would we ever know how to live like real children?

Sometimes I see myself as that fictional character, too. Sometimes it's easier to be a disembodied voice that can choose his words carefully, what he reveals and what he conceals. He can engage when he wants, or not; even feel as much or as little as he wants. He can be an encouragement or a challenge, but ultimately, he's just letters on a screen and can be turned off or set aside when he's inconvenient. Everyone's safe; no one gets hurt.

But I want to be a real boy, too. And that's what I was made for. Thanks for seeing that.
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