Is there something I wanted to say? Some attempt to convey a meaning, some thought or feeling otherwise utterly covered by impassive flesh in stoic visage? Perhaps the celebration, acknowledgment of an anniversary? Solemn and sacred event of lifeshaking import. So often though conception goes unobserved, and we enjoy the fruition much later without concern regarding causation. Perhaps the onset of my undoing lies deep in the past, physical, psychical or spiritual. Who can say. I have to resign myself now, though, to the seemingly obdurate fact that I am ruined, physically.
Have you had the amusing experience of observing me in motion? It’s quite comical. I hobble. A little hop, or a slow prance, high stepping and careful footfall. Put it to music and add witty commentary and it would be classic. I’m a clown.
Truth be told, I am ashamed. I mask it, bury it, subdue it with anger or humor or stoicism, but I do not feel, no longer feel like a complete man. I got a hint of something equally deep, or moreso, when I was looking into painkillers. I have refused for a lifetime to drug myself, but I’m getting past that. One must after all function. And in my reading I see that nsaids have a number of side effects. Well I knew that. One of the problems is possible erectile dysfunction. Potential loss of potency? As remote a concern to me as spontaneous breast-development. But when I read it, I thought, oh, I don’t want that. Is this what people, men, have to be concerned about? Gut fat and impotence and balding and visible decay before its time? Well now I am crippled, and so I must learn empathy from my own vulnerability, rather than from a tender heart.
It is an unarguable fact that God is incompetent. Just can’t get done what needs doing. Only capable of one thing, administering his own will to the exclusion of any other. Sort of a monomania. We hear, persistently, of his goodness. Also unarguable. From whom all goodness flows. But not all that flows is goodness. There are other wellsprings. In the world, we drink where we may and are inevitably polluted. God in the by and by will set all things right, but that includes the separating of sheep from goats. Oh well. Ho hum. Lost sheep are found, and speckled sheep are in the same fold as white. If I have to wait until I’m dead to walk without five or six different limps, I shall bide my time in rejoicing and good works.
If the blackness of pain stretches out like the shadow of the moon in front of the sun, ‘tis but a thorn in the side, to humble the flesh and its pride. Life? Life is that thing we hold on to even when we no longer know why. Ashes are sweetness. Morning brings renewal. You will not hear my actual voice raging, you will not see me break things or throw things or commit violence. I rage, I admit, in solitude, but I don’t break things. Hardly ever. Years and decades might pass, between such occurrences. I do not pretend, I don’t paste a false smile upon my lips, because I think pretense is dishonest. It would be more thoroughly honest of course to communicate, confide, seek counsel and comfort in fair fellowship, but you must know by now that it isn’t only my lower extremities that are crippled.
It will not be an insult to those I care about, if I say there is no person I feel comfortable confiding in, to reveal not just circumstances, physical details, but the actual degree of my despair. I know in fact I’m incapable of it. I am certain that only sobs and gasping are available to me. So I keep my communication confined to the level of words only, that which is expressible. For me to trust anyone deeply enough to reveal how crippled I really am, it would feel like death. I’d rather be dying, than actually die.
Well, not utterly ruined. I have a few plans. Swimming, cold and hot, would no doubt help. I wish I weren’t so crazy. The doctor I went to mentioned chemotherapy. Before that, if I can manage it, ice baths. A shock to the system severe enough to reset the immune system? Just a theory, but that’s what I’m good at. Nothing else I’ve tried, and it’s a lot, has made an appreciable improvement. And I expect I’ll have to go on a long, quite long juice fast. If that doesn’t work, I suppose I might fast outright. My thinking is to so stress the body that the immune system stops attacking me and gets its act together. I did a total ten day fast many years ago, and it’s not so very hard. But I don’t want to lose a lot of weight. One of the times I lost one of my boys, I accidentally stopped eating, out of grief, and got into the 150s. Pounds. I’m 6 4. So I know how to not eat. What’s that? You think my priorities are confused? Well that’s your opinion.
Every morning I wake up, unrefreshed, but somehow, stupidly, hopeful. I test my limbs, my hips, knees, toes, somehow expecting the problem to be gone. It’s not unreasonable. I’m doing this to myself. It’s my immune system. My disappointment amuses me. What a fool. God and his refining fire. It’s my heart’s one desire. Burn now, or burn later. Such great expectations he must have of me, to be so patient and so unrelenting.
I just wish he weren’t silent, or rather so general in his communication with me. Unreasonable to expect visions, and the purpose of these trials requires that they include no comfort. The eloquence of wretchedness. God isn’t a moron, but you’d think he’d be able to find some other tool.
I am honest, but I’m not completely honest. I do know what is demanded of me. I just don’t want to do it. God speaks, with complete clarity, through conscience. I hate that.
I am ashamed of myself, my body, my health. I don’t want people to see me like this. Most members of my family have not seen me for, well, a couple of years. I’m supposed to be healthy.
Huh. I wrote that yesterday. Today is another day, and as God is my witness I’ll never be angry again, for a little while. I wasn’t going to put this previous up. I write this way more than on anything else, now. Complain complain complain. I know God is bored with me, and you’d be too, if you had to endure a fuller presentation of my bitterness. But I’m bitter. Why, oh why can’t I make you see that. There are other facets to my semi-preciousness. Just recently in fact I got done celebrating one. My intellectual arrogance. Here, let me educate you on the matter.
More than two decades ago I lured some Jehovah’s Witness to my home to argue theology with them. I was like that in those days. Later the internet came along, and I posted this: Cross or Stake. No need to read it; it’s highly specific and on a frankly incidental topic -- was the Cross a cross, or a stake. JWs, you know, have some odd passions. Well, so do I. I am pleased to suppose that my discernment leads me to reality. Be that as it may, searches and surfers do find their way to that blog and that post, and today for the first time someone left a comment. “You are in serious error.” Etc.
And I responded, and he, and I, and he, and so on. Comments. It’s irksome, the discourtesy, when people just leave comments spouting their own view without addressing the actual evidence I’ve laid out. They do that. Like with my chronology of Easter week -- read the dang thing, and try to understand it, before you try to make your own case. Standard debate procedure. Please, follow the rules. Arguing is about your own side; discussing is about your side, and the other. If you want to argue, go find your girlfriend. These guys who leave a link to their own voluminous writings, expecting me to go and believe. If I go, I’ll either skim lightly, or deeply review the whole thing, and write a long analysis. Too much work. Like reading books by atheists about atheism. Why bother.
But now I feel guilty. You know, that intellectual arrogance thing. Because I wasn’t striving to annihilate him, but I was condescending. I didn’t want to get all verbose -- the issue is minor -- but my tone was so superior, and the brevity of my response, so elliptical, giving only the conclusion of a rebuttal rather than the formulaic proofs that would lead him to follow the reasoning. I allude to commonly-known rules of logic that I don’t spell out, and the guy seems clearly to not know the rules. That sort of thing. It’s snidely discourteous, or can seem so. And I reference Asbergers. Problem is, I’d bet money that it’s a factor in his life. Obsessive energy and encyclopedic attention to fringe topics. And the conspiracy, the secret-knowledge, the gnostic, puritanical demand for pseudo authenticity. It’s great to be authentic. I strive for it. But affectation is impure. Otherwise, it’s robes and sandals, and the Taliban is right in spirit if not practice.
Almost everything is a compromise, and communication is always a judgment call. You can just see that Kenneth has all his ideas front loaded, and wasn’t looking to interact, just to, uh, be admired for his erudition and his purity. Like me. Difference is, I respond -- I make a diligent effort to react to what is actually before me, rather than overawe someone with a Niagara of predigested information. Going into archaic alphabets is my kind of thing -- but it’s pretty autistic to think anyone else wants a data dump out of the blue on the matter.
Nevertheless, I feel a bit guilty. Maybe Kenneth is not sensitive, and has dusted off his sandals. But what if I’ve done some harm, even if only slight?
You see a man beating his wife. You rise up in righteous wrath and grab him by the neck and slap him with a humiliating open hand across the face, again and again, until he weeps and quivers and soils himself, begging for mercy. You tower over him and point down and warn him with ferocious indignation that he will never again hurt a woman for the rest of his days, or else, for no helpless woman will be abused in your presence while breath remains in you. And some time later, hours or weeks, the rage of his humiliation burns in him until he bludgeons the woman to death with a broken table leg. The heroism, the righteous clarity, what you meant for good has returned only as evil, and no trembling lip or nostril of regret will undo the harm.
How are we to know? Subtler minds than my own have urged for gentleness. We touch each other in countless ways, like sunlight on skin, for any human purpose an infinitude of photons acting as if randomness had meaning. It’s all too much to deal with. I’ve used my intuition and perceptiveness indelicately. I feel guilty. Too late though. (Well, actually not. He left 11 more comments. I'm over it.)
Last night my foot, the one that’s about twice as thick as the other, was almost normal, and I felt my spirit yearn for a chance to be humbled by the mercy of God. But this morning it was thick again. I will not be tricked by false mercy. I don’t need a normal foot when I’m in bed. I need it when I’m trying to walk. Don’t toy with me, God. The way I can be arrogant, because I have greater gifts? -- God should be better than that.