So as we last left our hero…it’s been a little over a month since my original post on becoming a Christian. As I imagined would be the case, there have been a lot of interesting thoughts running through me. There have been a lot of struggles. My primary struggle at this point is really just coping with what I’ve accepted. When you spend as long as I did outside of the world of faith, it can be hard to get back in. It’s hard overcoming your own cynicism. I literally find myself having arguments with myself in my own head. Mocking myself for my own lack of rationality. Then I chastise myself for not having faith. It’s weird, and sometimes a strange way to start the day…wonder why taking a shower invokes all of these thoughts. At any rate…
I’ve been continuing to read the bible as often as I can and it’s been helping a lot with all of this. Reading through Matthew last night gave me a real kick to the head. I won’t go into details because I feel like I’m too new to start “lecturing” on scripture. I’m a freshman in a post-grad class, and I think it’s wrong to speak out of turn. What I will say is that faith is hard. In my more cynical days, which I don’t think have completely finished, I would chalk Christian’s beliefs up to a mental weakness. I would tell myself that my lack of faith, my “reality check”, was because I was mentally strong enough to break free of tradition. Break free of an upbringing that was forced on me. I was better than the rest of them because I could see past all of the bullshit and get to something real. They were taking the easy way out, like faith was some type of porridge they were being spoonfed. I now realize, more than ever before, that cynicism is the easy way out. Believing in nothing is so much easier than believing in something.
I could always stand on whatever side of whatever battle I chose. My step-grandfather, who was a bit of a hothead, and the type of guy you would call a bastard, but say it with a smile, said to me one time, “You don’t walk into a fight unless you think you can win.” When you have no faith in anything it’s easy to take that approach in life. I could pick and choose my arguments, stack the deck, and then come out appearing more intelligent than I really am. Pad the stats a bit, and appear to be some great debater. Now, I won’t short change myself. I’ve been given the power of persuasion. That’s not bragging, or arrogance, it’s the truth. I can talk my way out of, or into, almost anything. My brother and I both were blessed with that, and oddly my most lucrative ability came from the woman that I wish I shared the least with. I’m getting off the point. The point is that having faith is hard, especially for we proud cynics out there. We’re not only beating the wolves from our gates, but we’re attacking ourselves from inside of the house.
Vanity is my other struggle right now, and it ties into my cynicism. You play the part of the sarcastic cynic. People know you, they expect it of you. They expect the jokes about people’s faith, they expect the mockery. You get so lost in the routine of it, that before you know it, you’re not only denying your own new found faith, but you’re mocking someone else’s. The disgusting part is that I don’t even realize I’m doing it until after the fact. My vanity runs so deep that it’s on autopilot. I can remember when I was a kid that I would attend Catholic mass almost every Sunday. Every Sunday for 18 years it was the same ritual, the same prayers, the same songs. I left the church, didn’t attend for at least 4 or 5 years. Then I went back for a Catholic friend’s wedding. Even after all of that time, even after me giving up on Catholicism, when that priest raised the communion host, without even thinking, I said in unison with the crowd, “Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” The words just poured out of my mouth like a mindless robot. This was one of many moments that made me hate the church.
Similarly, like a church for the cynical, when a joke or comment is being made about a Christian, I chime right in. Without a missed beat. Worse than that, I’m actually embarrassed to admit to “friends” that I’ve taken this new path. Says a lot for how much stock I’ve put in these friendships. I’ve discussed becoming a Christian with 1 friend, 1 wife, and 1 brother. With all of the people that I surround myself with, and all of the people that I’m supposedly friends with, I could only come up with three people that I was completely comfortable discussing this with. I think that says more about me than about them. It’s an odd time in my life, and it’s doing odd things in my mind, both good and bad. I’m a control freak, I’m an Obsessive Compulsive, and suffer extreme paranoia and here I am trying to turn over control to a force that cannot be seen or proven. Life is chalk full of surprises.
So that’s the daily report from the land of the Psychopath. Hopefully there are other cynical, sarcastic, assholes out there who are finding faith, and might actually be able to get something out of this. At least you’ll know you’re not alone. We can make wisecracks together when we’re dead.
Until Next Time