It’s been a few months since I’ve
written posted anything. (I actually have at least half a dozen unpublished drafts in various stages of incompletion, but every time I get “stuck” or distracted and never quite finish.) So tonight, I’m determined to finish something and hit that elusive “Publish” button. It won’t be pretty, but here it is.
Right now, I’m exhausted. I’m struggling with creative projects that should be exciting. I’m in physical pain (from a heel injury – which is another story entirely). And I’m hurting (more than I should) over some things that have been said about me. I feel beat down – crushed. And try as I might, I lack the ability to just snap out of it and be instantly un-crushed.
Even if I can’t snap out of it, I know I need to pull myself out of it. There’s something heroic and noble about rising above the circumstances, triumphing over external forces that want to hold you back: The Phoenix rising from the ashes… David winning over Goliath.
But it’s not that easy… because some of the forces aren’t external. It’s in me. It is me.
I think our childhood stories have done us a great disservice. We grow up on fairy tales and cartoons where the hero is good looking, pure, and obviously undeniably 100% good… and the villain is ugly, malicious, and obviously undeniably 100% bad. Even more, the villain embraces his role as bad guy – he revels in it. He’s not suffering from any illusion that he’s actually the good guy.
It’s rarely that cut-and-dry in real life. But most of the time, that’s really how we cast each other. We can’t imagine our heroes doing bad, and we can’t imagine our perceived villains as doing any good. If you don’t believe me, just watch the news. Any time there’s a polarizing issue, a nasty political campaign, or a painful church split, the passionate support folks feel towards their hero will lead them to deify him (or her) while demonizing the opposition.
I know I’m not the blameless hero. I know my faults. I’m aware of the baggage I carry and the places that are still tender from past hurts. And I live with the irony that I’m often more generous in forgiving or excusing my flaws than others will be towards me… while at the same time I can be harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. I’m not the hero, but I’d like to think most folks see me as being one of the good guys. And it hurts when they don’t.
And on the flipside, I know that those who hurt me are not storybook villains. They’re coming with their own set of hurts and baggage that I know nothing about. They’re acting and reacting for the most part in the ways that seem right to them. If they’re lashing out, it’s usually more about them than it is about me… just like it is when I lash out.
I know all this. I mean, I know it in my head somewhere. It makes sense. And in the quiet of my living room at the end of the day, I can see it.
But I still hurt. Not as a wounded hero. Not as a vanquished villain. Just as a traveler with a injured heel.