How often have you glanced at your watch, wondering when the person across the table will finally draw things to a close? We have all known people who tell you about every great thing they’ve done. We’ve, also, gone through mopping up behind them. It would have been better if they’d been weeping into their beer. Neither of these bode well with any of us. Nonetheless, I’m going to shut the door on braggarts and keep a mop in hand even as I wring it in front you.
Times like this are too much like my hours with some clients. Most of those people didn’t drench the couch with excessive tears.
Yet, a few gave me reason to keep an umbrella stashed behind my chair. It was people, excessively, bemoaning their faults or how the mistakes of others had hurt them. Consistent, in such conversations, was an unwillingness to bring this sorrow to resolution.
I am uncertain whether many of them treasured their self-pity. Their, session after session, laying before me the same personal flaws, made me confident that more often than not those feelings were closer to an addiction than anything else.
It isn’t just the good things we come to crave. We each have assortments of negative feelings and thoughts crawling out from under the rocks, through closed doors and creeping out of the refrigerator. You, like me, unconsciously expect a broad assortment of feelings and some of those are geared to bother us. Whatever your assortment of negative feelings are, those uncomfortably, come home to roost.
Your expectations are not necessarily conscious either. Like me, when I was dealing with a secretary over scheduling a yearly appointment and irritation, common to all of us, came racing in at the green light I gave it. The secretary on the other end of my cellphone’s wi-fi didn’t invite that feeling, I did. Likewise, when I feel down, despairing, angry or any other assortment of negative feelings I have learned to cautiously make those part of my prayer life by thanking God. My thankfulness is oddly seated in assuming there’s a good chance my negative feelings toward God and my life might not be about something real in my life. Those feelings, often enough, are a response to things my mind and body are accustomed to. If that proves to be the case then my task is to unlearn my attaching truth to a phantasm.