Part of my problem, I have been pondering, might be: Not enough output.
I really try to post things that will provoke thought and will contribute to my own “experiments” about how to be a faithful Christian. I say “experiments” because when it relates to things like sexuality for Queer folks, the Christian tradition is in its first tentative stages of actually engaging constructively with real people who profess belief in Jesus and in the Gospel.
I fear it might not be obvious, but my life has far more going on in it then thinking all the time about sexualities (as fun and fraught as that is!). I want to share, just by means of a partial list, how much “input” I have been trying to deal with over the last year or so. Recently, it seems that I am learning about how to be angry and how to be frustrated without hurting or harming anyone (which, apparently, is more difficult than it seems):
- I’ve lost really good friendships. To be honest, I don’t feel very bitter about this, just sad and drained and lonely. Now, I admit that my loss could be recoverable in the future–I’ve gotten friendships back before! At least one is just me not getting off my ass to make a Skype date. I have to admit, though, that I feel the loss every day, and I haven’t recovered yet. I can’t ‘replace’ these friendships, but only heal and continue to make room for new ones. It’s just been hard to lose soul-people with whom I could share anything and get good feedback. I value the laughter that comes from recognizing, “Oh, I’m not insane!” That happens a lot less, lately.
- Important relationships have shifted. On one hand, there are important people in my life to whom I am not as close, either by my choice or theirs, mutual agreement or (from my perspective) misunderstanding. On the other hand, I am convinced that Aristotle and other ancient and wise heads are right: friendship is the most basic human relationship over a lifetime. To remain friends during a difficult time is a massive gift to me.
- My body and I are not getting along. In September of last year, I injured my Achilles’ tendon on the right side. Since then, not only has my walking speed been about 1/3 (at most) of what it was, but my entire gait has started to shift. I have less balance and control over my body than at any time in recent memory, and to be frank, it frustrates me a lot. I might even say I feel angry, but where do I put the anger? Whose fault do I think this is? I can’t name any names, and yet I feel like my circumstances are stacked against me in several ways.
- Finances are an issue. I am a distance learning PhD student taking a 1) new programme 2) outside the country while 3) living in Toronto 4) being funded by the province of Alberta. If you have a sense of how many cracks there are that I could fall through, trust me–I have hit every one. Not only has school funding been slow to come, but I’m under review for my health card (which, please God, I can resolve in the next few days!). In the meantime, the review means I cannot yet access funded services like physiotherapy, and may not be funded at all for services I feel I need, like personal counselling and chiropractic. (Yep, I definitely need to talk some of my life-stress through with a trained heart and head that’s not my own.)
- New friends are emerging. Wonderful new people are in my life, but it’s also a scary thing. The stress of new relationships is still stress, after all–a form of input.
- Did I mention I moved in July, and am just now getting fully unpacked? Did I mention that I might have to move again, come August?
So, lots of input. There’s also reading for school–and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve used my time well for that, either. We’ll see what my supervisor thinks once I get to Birmingham. And here’s the problem (that a couple wise friends have brought up): The input is immense, but my chance for output (emotionally, academically, spiritually, other ways is not in balance. My problem is that I don’t know how to make it so. It feels like I have (unintentionally) bloated myself, so that something’s gotta give.
It’s possible that all this input is like Niagara Falls, if someone were to dam it improperly–the dam would probably break, normal flow would be restored, and things would be normal. But it feels a lot more like I could become the Dead Sea–plenty of input, no place for output, so though things float fabulously, everything is, well, dead. Not enough output.
I’m counting on something changing. I don’t know what, but I’m counting on something! Lord, have mercy.