Thursday, January 25, 2007

Swing Low

I'd like this to be one of those blogs where intelligent men ponder their lives using wit and humor: reflecting on their successes and an occasional failure, describing their relationships with their children in glowing anecdotes, going on about the blessings of marriage, critically yet poignantly discussing world events and how their unique understanding would help us all.

But this won't be one of those blogs, because I'm not one of those men.

While it is true that I have successes and failures, beautiful children, a lovely wife, and strong opinions that I am not afraid to discuss, I am missing something. I do not hold my head high as other men do. Even those with less fortune in life, even those who live in perpetual ignorance, even those who are bitter and resentful...these men I do not feel at par with. These are men I feel inferior to.

It was said that "if a man makes himself a worm, he must not complain when he is trodden upon." I'm not complaining. But I am wondering what makes me different. It's not humility, not anymore. I used to be content to be a man who didn't toot his own horn, who knew his limits and lived within them, who was satisfied with modest blessings in life and happy to begin each day fresh. But of late, things have change. Or more accurately, I have changed.

Oh, I'm not so fundamentally different a man than I was a year ago, five years ago, even ten. I've grown, matured, to be sure, but as years pass the gaps in my person I expected to fill with experience and wisdom remain empty, even have grown deeper. This is disheartening, and sometimes, on days like today, maddening.

* * * * *

Those words were written on a different day, and I declined to post them, primarily due to fear of criticism, or perhaps revealing too much about myself, my problems, and my sensitivities. Fact is, I'm going to encounter criticism anyway, if for nothing else than my lack of attentiveness or job performance. Fact is, I'm going to reveal my weaknesses with the sudden absence of strengths--strengths everyone in my life are accustomed to.

The kind of man I am does not come to light through one blog post, one workday, or one encounter with a stranger or friend. I do believe I have more low days than I ought to, and I really can't waste time lamenting faults or mistakes or omissions of character. I need to find my way back to the path.

The kind of man I am demands that I do justice to my true self, that purer simpler self who struggles in a busy crazy confusing world; demands that I satisfy my curiosities; demands that I be honest with myself first. But what I've learned about humans tells me the Self is most often the person we lie to.

I've done a fair bit of lying to myself, but also have I seen many truths. Obviously there is still work to be done; I can only hope I am granted enough days to do it.


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