Monday, December 09, 2002

By Way of Introduction

The Christian faith is marked, among other things, by a particular arrogance—the confidence possessed by ordinary, fallible men and women that somehow, despite all experiences of pain and suffering, longing, despair and sinfulness that seem to characterize our lives, the God of Jesus Christ loves us with great tenderness and compassion, and will not turn us away.

I am beginning this blog in the hopes that somehow I will think differently of it than my journaling practices, and be so prudent as to keep it with regularity. Perhaps not all of my thoughts and experiences these days are so sublime that they warrant recording, but since I put so much effort into everything I do at this point that I don't want the days to pass as quickly as they seem to. Perhaps they don't pass so quickly; I simply don't remember them.

The accident was October 15; I of course broke my neck, back and lots of other bones. Nine was the final figure, but I swear I didn't get a final, accurate count until two weeks after the incident. Oh well, I guess if I can't tell something's broken, it doesn't matter all that much? I am hopeful the halo apparatus will be removed at my follow-up appointment on December 17; if I can move from this ridiculous equipment to a mere (but freakin' huge) neck brace, I'll be greatly pleased. If it doesn't happen for some time yet, I'll cope with it; as it's been two months now, I certainly won't be heartbroken over a few more weeks. The worst is over, I hope, with the exception of physical therapy. I don't know what that's going to be like; today is my first regular session.

I'm juggling a few books right now, as my attention span remains pretty poor. I'm all drugged up, so at the moment it's "MTV attention span" as opposed to a self-discipline issue. :0P I'm working on Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of short stories; Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find"; Justo Gonzalez' The Story of Christianity; and Georges Bernanos' The Diary of a Country Priest. Oh yeah, at let's not forget Philip Yancey's Where is God When it Hurts? I can't stand to be bored, and it's so easy right now.

I had a frightening thought last night -- not as frightening as some of my others, but it was something of an existential moment. I can be whatever kind of man I choose. As I lie in my bed and look at the ceiling (that's all I can look at) I realize that I can face the road ahead of me however I choose. There's nothing to make me walk with grace, and nothing to save me from bitterness except for my own choice. What manner of man should emerge from these experiences? A man of grace and compassion is being drawn out by God.

Being angry and bitter is a kind of control. When life is out of control, striking out with rage gives one a feeling of power in the midst of impotence. It would come easily, as there are so many things I require help to accomplish. Accepting one's lot and bringing grace into the lives of others is also certainly a way (and the best way) of taking control, but it's peaceful and free-flowing, instead of neurotic and grasping. Bitterness wants to control circumstances and lash out at the world around the man or woman it controls, while a man of grace would take responsiblity for himself and work to change the world, not beat it into submission.

I think my pain meds kicked in again for that last paragraph.

I think today that I will believe in hope, and that God is reaching for me, speaking words of tenderness into harshness of my soul.