Sometimes life strikes you a certain way, and your motivation just evaporates.
I haven’t written anything in this space for a couple months despite having a wonderful trip to my ancestral village in Switzerland, something I fully intended to write about.
Truth be told, I have a lot I could say, but what gumption I temporarily work up to do so has been quickly dissipating.
I’ve been asking myself a lot lately what the point is of sharing my thoughts and feelings.
I suppose part of the reason anyone who writes these sorts of things does so is in an attempt to feel understood. In a world where it seems everyone struggles more and more to truly grasp what it’s like to be someone else, there’s real value in doing that well.
But it’s more than that. Part of hoping to be understood is that, in the process, as people hopefully learn what it’s like to see through someone else’s eyes, people learn to empathize with those different from them.
But, well. Take a look in the news and on social media. Empathy is almost nowhere to be found.
Everyone is at each other’s throats. We demonize those who disagree with us. Our president demeans people as a hobby.
Seemingly no one is interested in trying to understand what it’s like to be like or think like someone who isn’t exactly the same as them.
And it’s not just about my writing that I’m feeling despondent. I haven’t been actively trying to find a romantic relationship, but I just celebrated another birthday, and as the years continue to slowly tick by, my mind does inexorably tend to drift toward pondering the fact that I’m 36 years and counting into this thing called life and yet to be married.
I’ve written about being single a good bit, and most of the time it doesn’t bother me, and I actually enjoy it. But as the liturgy of seasons come and go every year, I’m led to dwell more on the negatives of certain things during particular times of year, and birthdays and being alone for whatever reason go hand-in-hand for me.
What depresses me into throwing in the towel on romance is the weird juxtaposition I’m in regarding religion – I’m an orthodox Christian who deeply values a relationship with God, but I live in the U.S. and don’t worship at the altar of America. Seeing as more than half of Americans don’t give a fig about religion and somewhere like 80 – 90% of seriously committed Christians are of the evangelical variety that unquestioningly love ‘Murica and all things Republican (and I’m actually a Republican to boot, I just don’t drink the Kool Aid), that leaves, what, maybe 30 women in the entire country I share deep convictions with?
So, giving up. It’s tempting, and it’s the main reason I’ve been uncharacteristically silent regarding my writing for several months now.
I’m not going to advocate pulling yourself up by your bootstraps when you feel like giving up. I don’t buy into that. As a Christian, my impulse is to surrender and let go of what I’m holding on to, not to double down and stick my middle finger up in the air at the world and carry on in spite of everyone else.
So within this mode of letting go, I have to let go of my pretenses, and I choose not to give up ultimately because God wants me to keep trying (though I need to be open to hearing from Him about when it is time to switch my focus and intensity).
My writing isn’t about the number of people I’ve helped guide toward a better understanding of someone else or about the number of followers I have or how renowned I am. It’s about doing the thing God has gifted me to do and hopefully in the process pleasing Him.
Whether I ever actually marry someone or not doesn’t determine the value of who I am, despite what society (and in particular, sadly, the Church) repeatedly tells me. I’m well aware of the miseries many people suffer in poor (and heck, even wonderful) marriages, so I can count the blessing (yes, blessing) that I can focus only on God and my kid without having to spend a vast amount of time molding my life around another adult.
And, if I do eventually marry, then bonus for all the good things that come along with that. Either way, count my blessings and carry on.
It’s alright to have moments of defeat as long as you come back out of them again. Don’t dwell on the negative, and choose not to ultimately give up, even if you do so for a season. But let your choice to carry on be guided by something altruistic and not out of spite.