Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just "be" - Sick thinking.

I have not enjoyed my day off. I am sitting in my bed with a very sore head and a throat that feels like somebody has rubbed rough sandpaper over it. I have spent most of the afternoon in bed. Anyway while I am sick I have been thinking. I have been thinking about people I encounter and our society's way of living and how we make life hard for ourselves. Let me list off scenarios.

  • I see people from the lower strata of society in our drop-in centre. Some are not the brightest people on the block so are unemployed. They try so hard to be "normal". They will buy cell phones they can ill afford with plans they cant afford. They will sometimes have cars they should not buy. They act like "know all's" pontificating on things they know nothing about. Some have mental health problems but they try to mask their problem in various ways. It is other people who make them the way they are. These people are trying desperately to be people who they are not. I want to say to them in love .... "You are OK. Just 'be'" I try to say this by accepting them in love and allowing them to just "be"... sometimes I see them relax and "be".
  • I sometimes see normal people who are driven by appearances, by how they are seen by other people. My mum was a bit like this. We kids had to have clean underwear... if we had an accident "what would the nurses think of your mother?" Sometimes she kept a stiff upper lip when she should have cried. When my dad died, she kept saying, "I must not cry, Angus would not like me to be seen crying." I see people buying cars they cannot afford for appearances sake. If they worked out what they actually ended up paying for the car they have a massive loan for they would be horrified. By the time they have paid for it, it is worth nothing. Then they think they need a more modern one "for appearances". I know people working their bums off because they have bought a house an an acceptable suburb that they really struggle to afford, "for appearances". They are stressed out, under pressure, trying desperately to look acceptable to "whoever". I want to say to them lovingly,  for God's sake "just be"!
  • I see people who have to be doing something and who find their identity in fulfilling a role. They are always in that role. - Ministers who when you ask how they are will tell you about the latest program in their church. Or who finish conversations with little platitudes and sermons. - Social workers and counsellors who will follow the right technique or model, and be so busy watching their technique that they fail to hear or meet the person they are dealing with. - Ministers again, who hide behind rituals and cliches rather than becoming "real". - Doctors who quickly "diagnose" and offer "prescriptions" even when they are talking to their wife or kids or friends. People who are so keen on looking "together" and "happy" and "composed" that they don't know who they are. I often want to say, "Look for the love of God, just 'be'".
  • There are people who run, lift weights and exercise for the good of their health. That is good.  But there are people who do such things because they are driven to be people who do such things. The thought that they might slow down as they age horrifies them. They do it for appearances, and sometimes even their health suffers because they are trying so hard to look healthy. 
  • I am planning on retiring at the end of next year. People tell me, "You can't retire! You are so young and do so well!" "You can't retire. What will you do?"  Another man told me that it took him about two years after he retired to adjust to not doing his job and fulfilling a role. Another lady looked around Space2B "How will you give up all this, and what you do? Why? What will you do?" I WILL retire and I will just "be". (I still have dreams of doing things, but they will not define me.)
  • Today I am sick and added to my sore head, sore throat, wheezy chest and lack of energy is the feeling of uselessness. Who am I if I am not doing something? It is my day off and fine weather, I should be cutting the hedges, doing the garden or "something". No it is time to just "be".
Just "being".
Just being is being happy with who you are at the present time. It is recognising and accepting that you have weaknesses, that you make mistakes but that you are you. Just being is recognising that you know some things but not all things and that is OK. Just being is recognising that you may not be as well off as others, but that does not reflect on your success as a person. Just being recognises that you don't have to be driven by other people's expectations, but that you can make the decisions for your priorities and living.  Just being recognises that more than your skills, your techniques, your knowledge you have something in who you are as a person that the world needs and wants to see and experience. People need to see the precious person that is "you" not just the outer casing. Just being allows others to take off their outer casing and share their precious person with you too. Just being does not mean that you do nothing or that you do not want to improve who you are. You still have dreams you want to fulfill, but they stem from who you are and are an expression of who you are. They are an expression of your inner-being, you have discovered your core and are finding ways to express it. The ideas and dreams and activity, whether it be your job, hobby or role does not give you your identity. Your doing is not your identity, rather it is an expression of your inner being.  If you can't "do" your identity is not lost, though the expression of it might find different forms. Just being is being a minister, social worker, manager or doctor, but first and foremost being "you".
Anyway... rambling now... Tillich in his theology says "Faith is the courage to be." I think there is a deep truth in that which would make life easier.  Living deeply aware of the love at the centre of the universe frees us to "just be".  Another writer says, "There is nothing you can do that will make God love you more. There is nothing you can do that will make God love you less." When we experience such love in our homes, our partnerships and friendships we are freed to "just be".

1 comment:

deeps said...

being is becoming...