This morning I woke up to a picture that my high-school English teacher posted on Twitter:
I share it here because it got me thinking about how it’s now been twelve years since I graduated from East Mountain High School, and I never would have imagined, all that time ago, that I would actually write for a living, or that anyone would actually read whatever I had to say… let alone a new and upcoming generation of students who now find themselves in the same class as I once sat in, inspired by one of the best and most influential teachers I’ve ever known.
It’s hard to keep my eyeballs dry, reading this. I guess that’s probably no surprise to anyone here, but still… pretty blown away. I guess it goes to show that you really have no idea what kind of impact you’re making, and I suppose I hope that - whatever happens - I might be able to continue to make a positive one on the lives of the folks interested in following along on the journey.
Speaking of emotions, or feelings, I’ve been learning a bit more about some of mine since the beginning of this year. About not suppressing them. About listening to myself, and my gut. It has taken some ignoring them to make me realize how much I shouldn’t ignore them, and some mistakes to make me realize that I’m in need of course correction, but this finding myself is happening a bit more than it used to…
It’s extremely difficult for me to know how I feel when I am too concerned with how I “should” feel, or whether what I’m feeling is appropriate. But that’s not existing in the now, or trusting the Lord with who he’s made me to be.
And the suppression has severely undermined my emotional health throughout the years. I think that, in our attempts to enforce the reality that “life’s not all about feeling,” we’ve done away with feeling altogether. I supposed that has much to do with my ongoing enthrallment with / recommendation of books like “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” and “How We Love,” which have both been so impactful to me as I continue to try to understand who me is.
Learning about not ignoring who I am for the sake of being what I imagine others might want me to be. Learning to be okay with what MY gut says. With what MY convictions are. With being known for who I actually am. With risking the conflict. With asserting myself.
To a degree, it has felt like learning to live in faith again instead of “in control” - whatever that is. I’ll tell you what, though – the process has been as grueling as it has been worth it, and sometimes trying to follow Jesus is a huge pain the ass.
[I’ve been wanting to write that last part for a long time so I’m glad it finally fit somewhere. Haha.] It’s cool to think about growth and continuing to come into my own, though. I think I’ve always affirmed the idea that people have been made the way that they are, individually, for a reason. You know – the whole “We’ve already got them so you be you” thing...
But I’ve always been better at giving to others what I haven’t seemed to be able to give to myself. Maybe now I’m learning a little more about how to put a nice idea into practice, personally…
Anyhow, I’ve got to clean my house now.