A God of My Gross

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**Against my better judgment and at the insistence of my muse, I confess…**

For the second time in my life, I’m homeless. Though the circumstances are different (I was newly sober then and I have 14 years now), the effects are the same. I have no address, no house, no home, no space to call my own. What I do have is a bed, the generosity of a friend and the internet. Imagine life without online. That’s worse than prison. Trust me, two years in China beyond the Great Firewall without Facebook or Youtube taught me that. The bed isn’t half bad, really. There’s a comfort and a privacy here that I’ve come to realize is awfully important for a man my age. My own bathroom would be nice, but a shower is a luxury and makes my life easy. Living abroad taught me something about how good I have it at home, even if the home is not my own. I don’t live underground in a cave. I’m not without running water and I’m not without warmth. If I were, that would be much worse.

Friends, trying to be a comfort, are at a loss. They’re full of optimism and well wishing but they aren’t full of reality. Maybe that’s good. Maybe that’s better because my reality, through my lenses, is bleak. As my head sees it this isn’t the storm before the still. This isn’t the rain before the sun’s rise. This is the end of the line. This is fourteen years of soul searching, scouring and casting aside. This is fourteen years of agonizing growth with nowhere to go and very little to show. This is Spain and China and eye opening and soul awakening emptiness. This is being aware of how bad it can get yet knowing it could get a whole lot worse. “Nothing is so bad that a drink won’t make it worse” is a saying heard around the rooms of recovery and it’s true. As dark as this is, things could be much darker.

I tug and challenge between how bad things are and how much worse they can be. I tell myself I’ll starve, that I’m facing famine and then I’ll feast. The meals keep coming and that’s good because without meals I wouldn’t last very long. Every day it seems, quietly and without much explanation, I keep getting taken care of. Friends come through. It’s not that they pay my bills, although they do, it’s that they’re there. They quiet my head and make me still. You see, I’m convinced this is my failing and my fault, a product of productive living and unproductive giving. An outcome of faithless faith and graceless grace. A culmination of culling and cutting and writing and trying to rid myself of selfishness, judgment, intolerance, a childlike and annoying need to be right, high expectations of others, impossible expectations of myself and an all around ungrateful attitude for how much better I’ve had it then I deserve because, let’s face it, with a past like mine I don’t deserve much. Luckily, I get mercy and not justice. Justice, or getting what I deserve, I want no part of because I deserve the worst. Mercy? I want for miles and in millions.

Friends who are far and unfamiliar with my safari or unaccustomed with my odyssey will ask what I’m up to, as though being up to something guarantees good fortune. When I say I’m having trouble with trusting God, they hear “I’m doing nothing and up to no good.” I don’t bother to tell them I’m looking for work, submitting resumes, filling out applications and following up because I doubt they’d understand if I did. Faith without works is dead but sometimes faith followed up by action is fruitless. In their defense, they mean well, and probably, based on their experience, their actions are always accompanied by accomplishment. I’m sure mine will be too, as persistence always seems to pay off, but the time it takes to pay is sometimes unpredictable.  I wish I could do a better job of remembering that remark. Instead, lately, the best I can do is wander in the dark.

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13 thoughts on “A God of My Gross

  1. A reason to trust seems to be made evident in the small acts of kindness, although, it is never an easy task when the road is dark and uncertain. Oh to be able to see the future! A blessing and a curse it would be. What we cannot see, what we may never see, coming out of actions done through faith isn’t void, fruitless. It just may be that we’ll never see the fruit, that someone else will benefit, which is why we do the work in faith to begin with.

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m a fixit who can’t fix anything broken, so it’s always difficult to absorb other’s struggles, but I’ll be praying for you. Being honest about the struggle of trusting God through circumstances is real for so many people. It doesn’t mean you are ‘”doing nothing and up to no good.”’ There’s hope sprinkled throughout your words. Keep at it.

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      • Hidden pockets of hope and handsomeness! 😉 I’m doing better, thank you for asking, Rach. Sadly, I can’t write on command. The well has been dry for some time and when the time comes to write again, I have no idea what will come out but I’ll try to remain brutally honest.

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      • Really? I thought writers had that ability! It’s certainly the impression I got from reading what they and editors would say. That’s very interesting and comforting. Thanks, Rach! 🙂

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      • Are words written on command really worthy if not given thought, or heart, or soul? Not so sure. I’m sure people do it and expect it, but then I’m reminded of all the papers we were required to write for school and how difficult it was the eek out a three, or fifteen, or thirty page report compared to writing out of passion and desire where hundreds of pages flow together. I hope it is comforting! Thank you, Peter. 🙂

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      • I just figured they had a gift that I don’t have. Maybe they’re able to tap into their soul easier than I am. Maybe they’re more creative. Maybe they’re whatever they are. But you’re right about what I was made to write. Now I’m made to write of my own. I just wish I could say I enjoyed it. Hundreds of pages? You have a gift, my friend! I’m impressed!

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      • Or I talk too much. 😉 That may not be a gift at all. More like a curse? 😛
        And maybe they’re a lot of things, but that doesn’t diminish who you are. Different people do have different gifts, but I get the impression you’re a very soulful person.

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      • Thank you, Rach. That’s kind of you to say. I try to be slightly better than the man who I am. I thought that just qualified me for middle age, but I like your explanation better. 😉

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