I sit here in a worship gathering, and the familiar feeling returns.
I am at a wedding for someone I do not know. I watch the joyful expressions on the faces of others, I see their faces glowing with hope and starry-eyed wonder, but this celebration is for a unity I do not know. An event I have no relation to. At times I weep with joy along with the other friends of the family. But leave with an empty feeling of loneliness. At this time, I write my thoughts, unable to cheer for the team I’m not rooting for. Unable to pledge to the flag of the country I don’t know. Unable to cry for the death of someone I never met. The building is throbbing with energy and music, yet I feel like a lead anchor weighing the rising jubilation down.
Oh, weird. I think I just felt emotion.
But I feel, only when my thoughts are worlds away from the real life around me. I am only when I am not here. My thoughts, feelings, and passions are not with my location but on some other level. Not a higher or lower level. Just a different level.
I sit watching people congratulate the newlyweds, unable to allow a happy grin to escape my heart, uncertain of how to talk with everyone so happy and giddy at this joyful occasion.
The next evening I walk into the funeral of someone I do not know with a misplaced grin on my face, suddenly unsure of how to relate to the mourners surrounding me.
All that to say – I often find myself thinking, writing, and believing the opposite of what I know I should in any given situation. And now, I’m going to start writing and sharing my incongruous thoughts, without any explanation or hope of finding resolution between what I write, what I feel, and what is actually happening in the world around me.
Now when I pick up this pen, I will write for the sake of writing, speak for the fear of having nothing to say.
Even if my thoughts
are the wrong thoughts
at the wrong time.
I will share what makes me shed a tear at a flourishing party.
I will share what makes me laugh at a funeral.
I will share what makes me think of sex in church.
and I can lose myself to it.
I will share what makes me think of God in sex.
I will share what makes me say foolish things
when I defend a thesis in college.
Only by knowing nothing
am I willing to learn anything.
I will share what makes me mature
when nothing is expected of me.
I will share what makes me think impulsively when responsibility is given me.
I will share why I feel at home
when I have nowhere to lay my head
and haven’t seen a familiar face in 6 months.
I will share why I feel like a stranger,
when I’m with people who’ve known me since birth.
I will share what makes me feel liberated when I say
“I don’t believe in God.”
I will share what makes me feel trapped,
when I say I’m a Christian.
I will share what makes me a kinder, more thoughtful person
when I talk about my self-centeredness and selfishness.
I will share what makes me a pious hypocrite,
when I deem myself most righteous and holy.
I will share what makes me think we should free the murderer
and execute the person who never harmed a soul.
By writing these things in their naked truth, perhaps they will not cease to be true,
but they will cease to be felt.
May God let it be so.
I will write why I write,
to free myself
from what compels me to write.