Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Desperation of Need
It continued with some laughter.
Then it turned into the antechamber to hell, which is typical of my life. Good things precipitate really bad things in some kind of sick psychic balance.
I have changed in the last year and a half. The agent has been an on-line game and the people who play it. In physical life I've survived by being low-profile verging on invisible. If I do become visible, for example by sand sculpture, it's temporary as I walk away and the sculpture disappears. In the electronic world of Uru, however, I've become very visible.
That wasn't my intention, but by following my nose it just happened. I turn my face toward those things that interest me and, nose leading the way, I walk into something new. In Uru there is essentially unlimited idea-space for people to use. There is no competition for limited resources. So, I grew into places that I didn't predict and became a somewhat larger-than-life organizer of musical events and parties. It would be hard to imagine a role more different from anything I do in the physical world.
And yet, every avatar I see in Uru is backed by a real person. Propinquity leads to intimacy even when the face you see is that of an electronic simulacrum. Somehow enough reality comes through the interface for people to know each other. Perhaps they even like what they see.
The electronic simulacrum is at least partially the real person. In my case the impresario role isn't so much a lie as the result of lifting the rock off from something that I've always been. I displace no one by what I do, and those who enjoy it are free to join me, just as those who don't like it are free to stay away. Nothing is forced.
So, who am I? Party maven or submarine? Depends on the world. The changes in one attracted some of the people there and I suddenly awoke to what was going on. People liking me, wanting me to be there, comes close to need. I enjoy their company and that comes even closer to need. I am to have no needs. Needs are the hooks the world uses to tear you apart, one little piece at a time until there's nothing left but an obedient shell. Seeing what lay ahead I did the natural thing: run. I might have paid more attention to guidance, but it's hard to guide when looking backward and I ended up splitting the exit between physical me and electronic me, and ended up at hell's antechamber, overlooking oblivion's dark hole, wishing I'd never started anything.
Naturally, when the discussion turns to need God's name comes up. Well, I don't need him either. That put the black paint on the antechamber, but still it looked better than where I thought He was leading me. "Nope. Not going there. Forget it." Still, he has the advantage. Me trying to live without God is like the Kansas sunflower trying to bloom in January. All He has to do is wait.
Well, it's more complicated than that. God's kind of waiting is very special. Ascetics spend years learning how to be quiet for a few hours so as to hear God's voice, but sometimes all He needs is a split second to insert a thought. Accumulate enough of those little quick thoughts and eventually they achieve something like critical mass and softly explode into new light and meaning.
"Are you really living now?"
"Are you sure it's Me you're running from?"
"Remember _________________?" (fill in the blank with one of many little miracles)
"What do you think I'm working at?"
"What is the source of that idea?"
"Are you really living your life, or someone else's?"
Note that none of these is couched in the usual challenge of day to day conflict we all live with. God isn't out to prove a point. His only desire is to serve me.
Still, it all takes time. I keep sliding down, driving myself with well-aimed kicks. Self-destruction is the theme of my life, which has taught me draconian survival skills. I've learned to be the indigestible nut passing through the world's drains. No matter what you do to me, I will remain. Hah. Take that. Of course what comes out the other end is hardly a human being, but look at it from my point of view: survival is the necessary precondition to getting better. If I allow myself to be ground up by the world's ideas and attitudes there is no hope at all. Little enough as I go, but even less that way.
But, hell's bells, folks, it's no way to live and it certainly isn't God's way. I have my ideas of what God wants, but He always surprises me with his gentleness, certainty and service. God knows His own. Anyone else in His position would use that power to completely overwrite my psyche. Sometimes I wish He would. That would be easier that going through these lessons in becoming a human being.
Some things are just hard to admit. I'd rather do just about anything than admit to having needs of the personal sort. You can't order friends from Amazon and have them delivered to your doorstep, and get some credit on your card. People aren't products and God is not at all interested in making them such. Neither is He a product. "Be prepared for the truth." God is a person who knows what He's doing. Beyond that, He knows how to do it for each of the many people under His care.
My life has been a succession of things given up. Dreams, facts, whatever. Bit by bit, like an aeronaut tossing things out of the balloon to keep it flying just a little longer. Eventually I started tossing the important stuff, whittling away at life, doing the things that I'd determined not to allow the world to do. Run from God and die, sinking, sinking, turning my eyes from His buoyant life.
Of all the things I wanted to eliminate from my life, need for other people is the biggest. Well, at the moment. Who knows what else is buried in there. As I said about the therapist I was talking to for a time, "I'd rather die than tell her anything." Well, God, as is His way, took me up on the dare. "You want to die? Go ahead, but first I'll help you figure out what the truth is."
I wish I could tell you how the turnaround happens. Somehow God's words reach beyond my panic, while He holds me invisibly to keep me from falling off the cliff edge I court so assiduously. Perhaps I compare the view ahead--desert, dark, dry, no promise of change--to the vision God offers to one side or the other down some little path marked by a blood-red flower. That's the promise. He let himself be killed so that I could go on walking. Eventually I come to my senses, exhausted, and quit dreaming of moving to a cabin out in the middle of nowhere or flying an airplane that never needs to land.
Jesus suggests that landing isn't so bad, that living in the cabin might be smoother but it wouldn't be so rich. He further suggests that such richness is a good thing, rather than the erosion that I've always believed it to be. Maybe it's pure fatigue that allows me to agree with him at the moment, and when my energy comes back I'll start running again. I hope not. I'm really tired.