Blue Like Jazz Chapter 9 – Change: New Starts at Ancient Faith
Something got crossed in the wires, and I became the person I should be and not the person I am. It feels like I should go back and get the person I am and bring him here to the person I should be.
Wow. That’s one of those things that you really have to read it a couple of times to follow it. But once you get what he is saying, either you can relate, or you can think someone who seems to be in that position.
We all have that person we are supposed to be. You know, “the person I should be.” This could be a person YOU think you should be, as in the person you want to be, or the person you think you should be for society. Or, it could be the person your PARENTS think you should be, or the person your BEST FRIEND thinks you should be, or the person your SPOUSE thinks you should be. Whichever the case, the key to each of these phrases is the “be,” meaning it is not the “I am.”
Though you might appear on the outside that you are that “being” that was planned to become of you, you are not fully it. Who you really are might be hidden within. In a way, you are suppressing who you really are, to display this “should be.”
It’s easy to fall into what society or people, such as parents, who have a lot of influence over us, think we “should be.” But when we do fall into this state of being, if it isn’t who we really are, even if we feel content with it, are we “being” to our fullest capacity?
I think it is important to make sure your “am” is always a part of your story. Make sure you are not going through life fulfilling the “should be’s” and ignoring the “am.”
I was feeling bitter about the human experience. I never asked to be human. Nobody came to the womb and explained the situation to me, asking for my permission to go into the world and live and breathe and eat and feel joy and pain. I started thinking about how odd it was to be human, how we are stuck inside this skin, forced to be attracted to the opposite sex, forced to eat food and use the rest room and then stuck to the earth by gravity. I think maybe I was going crazy or something. I spent an entire week feeling bitter because I couldn’t breathe underwater. I told God I wanted to be a fish. I also felt a little bitter about sleep. Why do we have to sleep? I wanted to be able to stay awake for as long as I wanted, but God had put me in this body that had to sleep. Life no longer seemed like an experience of freedom.
Yep. I can’t say I’ve ever specifically thought of it in the sense of “feeling bitter about [being] human,” but I’ve definitely wished before that I did not have to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom.
I wish we didn’t have to sleep. Many times I “can’t” sleep, so it leaves me tired and restless in the days to follow. It is then that I find myself wishing we didn’t have to have sleep.
I wish we didn’t have to eat. Many times I find myself hungry and nothing really sounds good. Sometimes I just feel burnt out on all foods. It is then that I find myself wishing we didn’t have to eat.
I wish we didn’t have to go to the bathroom. Many times I find myself wrapped up in an important situation and I really need to go to the bathroom, but I don’t want to leave my present situation. It is then that I find myself wishing we didn’t have to go to the bathroom.
Many times I deal with these thoughts and wishes, but it was a week ago, when I was doing some research for a school project that I came across something that reminded me of these thoughts that have crossed my mind, as well as Donald Miller’s mind…
Cathy suffers fro a disease called pseudo-intestinal obstruction (PIO). She hasn’t been able to keep food down since she was 6 months old, when she was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction and had her first surgery. After six similar surgeries, she was finally diagnosed as having PIO. Because so much of her small intestine has been surgically removed, she is not able to absorb the nutrients from food and has to undergo total parenateral nutrition, which reguires her to hook up to an IV every night. Cathy credits her father, who was there to “kick me in the butt” and said, “you know, this is your life, so get used to it.” As a result, she has learned to accept her conditions and tries to live as normal a life as possible. Now she has to deal with a blood infection called septicemia and persistent earaches. She get urinary tract infections frequently. Despite these chronic conditions, she is married, has graduated from college, and is working. She said:
A lot of times I’ve thought of suicide, that it would be so easy to just die. To this day, I can picture a way to do it that would be nice and clean and quick and easy…There’s a purpose for me being here. I mean, the amount of research that they did through me maybe someday someone else’s kid won’t have to go through the shit that I went through…My life has purpose because I know I don’t have the luxury to sit around and waste time. I have a certain amount of time every day, or every night, and I’m going to make these hours count…I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me, but I really feel like I’m ready for anything. I just want to enjoy each day, live each moment…Today is what is important and I’m going to make the most of it.(p. 85)
[De Vries, B. (1999) End of Life Issues: Interdisciplinary and Multidimensional Perspectives. New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.]
Wow. You read that and you think to yourself, maybe “having” to eat isn’t all that bad after-all. Boy do I really not have much to complain about, if I’m just wishing I could get more sleep, having something “different” to eat, or be able to hold my bladder a little longer.
I lay there under the stars and thought of what a great responsibility it is to be human.
This is going to sound weird, but I was thinking about this one and I was thinking, without God, or another “higher power” in our life, do we really have any responsibilities?
Where do our “apparent” responsibilities come from? It is only from sources of higher being? Is it our values and beliefs that place responsibilities on us?
I realize our different roles in life can place responsibilities on us, such as a mother has certain responsibilities to her kids, and an employee has certain responsibilities to his employer, but I’m talking about ultimate responsibilities. I mean the ones that we really can’t “get out of,” as we can with many of the “role responsibilities.”
[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]