Family wedding tomorrow, which I am dreading.
‘She’s feeding you well!’
‘Would you get that hair cut!’
‘So what are you doing with yourself?’
‘Did you ever get your driving test?’
‘Would you ever think of becoming a minister yourself?’
Basically I’ll feel like ‘the idiot’
Yes, family weddings, you have to love them.
When people come at me saying such things I feel instantly attacked and defensive yet without a backbone. Perhaps I should just brush such stuff off but it gets to me and leaves me feeling crap.
I know tomorrow that the first question that people who I haven’t seen in years, aunts and uncles, old friends etc will ask me is ‘Well, what do you do with yourself?’
It won’t be their intention to piss me off of course (I think) but it will undoubtedly go straight towards many of the hurts and insecurities I’ve had the last number of years, right to the jugular and doubts I’ve about myself.
They will ask me why I haven’t trained in anything to get me into what I want to do and I’ll either get defensive or brush them off.
I can see this discussion playing itself over and over tomorrow and each time it will feel like I’m getting a kicking, even if it isn’t anyone’s intention.
The reason I haven’t trained in any courses is that there have been no courses that I’ve seen around Belfast that I thought would help me do the sort of things I think God has called me to do. It’s often that simple and that hard.
Also, there is a general attitude of ‘up’ which gets to me as these are generally Christian people telling me to retrain or to get out there and kick some neighbour ass and prove that I’m willing to work much harder that my neighbour and am more worthy of a job than they because basically ‘I’m a better worker‘ than my neighbour.
I’ve said it before but I’m not sure how reconcile this all if you are trying to be like Jesus.
Fundamentally I believe that we have everything we have because it’s a gift of God’s good grace.
This is why we pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’.
It’s a recognition that God provides our daily bread.
Of course it’s our duty to work to get that bread, to gather the manna from the desert,to sow the seeds, harvest the grain etc etc.
But surely the way we look for work matters as well?
My relations (and you I suppose) might think that it’s good to fight tooth and nail for a job, to do whatever it takes so that when we get a job we’ll be able to do good, but I tend to disagree.
That’s not to say that I’m not a bundle of sins and pride now either (because I am) but there is something about ‘up’ and trying to show that we’re more suitable for jobs than other people that doesn’t gel with the Jesus that I see in the Gospel.
I was re-reading this bit in Colossians Remixed and although it is talking about the education system it was making me think about how I’m supposed to live life
Interesting metaphor, isn’t it -“up”? …Wendell Berry has some comments on this metaphor….” Berry wryly notes, ” Well, I think that I hardly need to document the consequent pushing and tramping and kicking in the face” involved in getting to the top and staying there. He muses that perhaps “up” is ‘the wrong direction.” We would add that “up” is the wrong metaphor and misshapes the imagination of our young. Rather than instilling in them a desire to get to the top, to move up, we want to encourage our children to develop a sense of calling and service, including an awareness that this may require a process of downward mobility, a decision not to strive for the top but to care for those who are on the bottom’
That’s part of the problem. When I was in primary school I won a couple of awards for being bright so I guess that people like my gran, parents thought that their eldest boy was going to turn out to be a model citizen. Over the years they’ve watched that unravel until this point where he is flailing around and going to weddings like he is a bit of failure, hair too long, lazy and good for nothing. Even when I did have a full time job as a church youth worker they seemed unimpressed because to them it was a waste of time or taking the mickey job. I used to hate it when an uncle would ask over Christmas dinner ‘well what do you do in a typical day?’ My brain would freeze over and I couldn’t give a coherent answer, which no doubt looked to him as if I did nothing.
Sometimes I think all that stuff they’re thinking about me about myself, I take all their words on board as well and get down in the dumps about it.
But at other times I’m content with who I am and happy in my own skin. It’s just that I find it hard to communicate those sorts of things to them because I’m not great with off the cuff words over a vol-au-vent and glass of Shloer.
But all that wallowing in self-pity shouldn’t obscure the fact that tomorrow si about my youngest brother and his bride to be, a celebration of two becoming one. Tomorrow we will celebrate and raise a beaker of Robinson;s fruit cordial in their honour. And perhaps there will be a sly gin & tonic or two consumed to deal with the relatives