I haven’t posted in a while. I tend to not get very personal in my posts – at least not explicitly – but allow me to talk about some things that are very relevant to my life and very non-theoretical. (You’ll read this post and think yeah right, this is ALL theoretical. It’s not. It’s personal).
The lesson of this last year can be summed up in one phrase: Everyone, everyone, is messed up.
When I delivered this maxim to my Mom, she suggested with a nervous smile that a better phrasing would be ‘Everyone is hurt.’ My sister, too, thought my phrasing too bold. Personally, I like my formulation. Everyone is really really deeply hurt in a way that leaves them an absolute wreck, whether they show it or not.
Maybe there is a better way to put it: Everyone is broken.
I have come across so many broken people this year. Some outright told me they are broken. Some just talked about broken acquaintances of theirs. Others drunkenly bragged about their un-brokenness in a way that shouted for attention to their brokenness. So many many many broken people. Some 7 billion of them.
Personally I usually find this fact strangely comforting. We are all shipwrecks, which allows us a sort of inter-shipwreck camaraderie. (Granted, the only people who admit their brokenness tend to be those who are so outwardly or publicly broken that they wish to salvage the situation by channeling their brokenness to garner peoples’ sympathy. Granted.) Nevertheless, realizing peoples’ brokenness and my own at the same time has made it easier for me to channel empathy toward individual people. Empathy is different from sympathy.
Tonight, however, the fact of peoples’ brokenness nearly led me to despair. I felt a strange disconnect from the people I was talking to. Everyone I was talking to was as insecure and needy as I; we were all lost ships that kept missing each other. As much as we loved each other, our brokenness kept us from true selfless discourse. Our sentences weren’t meeting, our ideas not connecting. Do I know for a fact that the people I was talking to are broken? No. But, given my general experience of human beings, its statistically likely that – whatever our intentions – our words and actions were flares thrown out with the hope of grabbing someone’s attention and reeling in some compassion or healing for our brokenness. We are all castaways flagging each other down while we’re all treading water.
Well, this is depressing! 😛
I then wandered out into the starlit Canadian night to puff on a pipe and let out some angst. Of course, as starry nights are wont to do, the kaleidoscope of celestials above me dragged me into a knowledge – nay, a reminder – of Who’s In Charge. Hey, what’s up, God!? How’s it going? Forgot you were in charge for a moment! I know: I’m an idiot. We both know this.
It struck me how much we need Jesus, not just for I or me, but for us and we. We humans can go decently far on mere power of human camaraderie, but at the end of the day we are all lost ships without a port. Without Christ, there simply (metaphysically) cannot be true community. We are all individuals lost in our own individuality. There is no way for us to possibly communicate with someone else perfectly, or have them understand us perfectly. In fact, even if we extend our powers of empathy to bind ourselves to another person’s emotions, we fall into unhealthy and clingy relationships with each other (and end up seeing a shrink).
The point is this: we need Communion. We need Eucharist, not just in the form of a Sacrament received at Mass, but in the form of a way of being that Christ makes in us. Unless Christ is among us, binding us, living in each of us like DNA, we cannot even really speak to each other.
Just a thought.
Also, I finished a 113-page screenplay today. I’ve been writing it non-stop the last three days. I’m exhausted.