When I am the cause of my own misery, I often avoid the fact that in actuality I have control over the situation. My pride gets in the way and so does my insecurity. First I have to admit that it’s my fault, then I have to drag myself (painfully) out of the mud and continue into the Unknown where there might be joy or suffering, but I will no longer be the making of it. The Unknown is a scary place for most people. The familiar, even if it’s no good is comforting in a twisted way, at least you know what you are getting. Whether it be a job, relationship, habit or attitude that weighs your heart down more often than not you have more control over the situation than you think.
In high school, I was painfully shy. I felt like a didn’t fit in and even though I desperately wanted to try out for plays I just didn’t know how to go about it and I did not know how to ask for help. If I could talk to myself back then I would NOT say, “take control and just do it and talk to people, it’s easy!” But I would tell myself to start taking small steps toward the kind of person I wanted to be: open and confident.
There is the temptation to say, “Well, that’s just me and I guess I’ll just be miserable.” It is an easy way to shoot yourself in the foot. Most likely if you are painfully shy you will not become a quick-witted stand up comedian, but you may learn to be at ease and joyful in others’ company. I say this because in college and especially after college I said, “screw it I’m breaking down these walls even if I make an ass of myself," and I ended up in a lead role in a play and making really wonderful friends at events where I knew just about no one. It was liberating… imagine if I hadn’t tried. It’s a cliché statement to say shoot for the moon because even if you don’t make it you’ll land on a star, but it’s really true. Don’t let the fear of failure control you.
Funny, I played Alice in that play. So thematically appropriate.
But what if I fail? You might, but you also might not. The likelihood that you’ll succeed immediately rises the moment you decide to try.
I spent forever trying to drag myself out of a relationship because I would look over the Pit of the Unknown and say that my situation wasn’t that bad. It was familiar and maybe might work out… maybe. When I realized that if I stayed it would never work out I jumped head first into a black pit of a million possibilities. I gave myself a shot at lasting joy instead of no shot at all. It seems like a no brainer, but unless you love yourself a decision like that can be near impossible. I think the most singular people I know are the ones who throw themselves into the Unknown regularly for the sake of something awesome.
So do it. Dream big. Don’t settle.
When suffering comes along the way look up at a crucifix and join your suffering with His. You are part of His Body and your suffering will not be in vain. His resurrection is yours as well. I didn't mean to be all preachy at the end but I know of no other way to endure pain joyfully.
Peace my friends,