Monday, January 16, 2006

Disillusioned Romantic? Not.

Not a clue what to write but here I am anyway. I start about 85% of my posts with that sentence; I just normally delete it before I hit the publish post button. As I wonder what to write about I'm picking up my current read and putting it back down again. I want some magic quote from it to do my writing for me. It's a book I ordered through the local library based on a recommendation from who-knows-who's blog. Just a few days before it came in I found it in a thrift shop but didn't like the cover. Because of that I didn't take the time to really look at the words inside. I dismissed it as some sappy Christian book full of platitudes and the like. Wow, my bad.

A few days later I started to read my library copy and realized I had just passed on buying a book for a few bucks that I will now have to pay 4 times as much for it if I want my own copy. And I do. I looked it up online and found the new cover a big improvement, too.

Well, I could write about asking myself just how much of my life is like that anyway? - the dismissing things with a passing glance - but that sounds oh-so-trite and if I'm not careful I'm going to sound like one of those weakly(no spelling error there) devotional crapolas that pass for spiritual food.

Oh, man now that sounds cynical and it's been a long while since cynicism was part of my regular thought pattern. I once asked Brennan Manning whether cynicism had any place in the Christian life. He said that a cynic was a disillusioned romantic. Ooh, that pissed me off. I prided myself on being a realist, if anything, and absolutely not a romantic, nor a disillusioned one at that. Hah. But he went on to talk about just what he meant and I remember sitting there and thinking "You can stop talking any minute now." He was wrecking one of those "la,la,la fingers-in-my-ears I can't hear you God" moments I am fond of having.

I prayed about being willing to stop being so proud of my cynicism. I liked making those wry comments that got a laugh and made a point. I liked them a lot. I liked having a silent "Ya, right" punctuating most sentences. But I did pray about it and God did hear me and God did answer. Oh, jeepers now I want to write a sentence that says, "Ya think?" Of course God hears and of course God answers. If I would just get my la-la fingers out of my la-la ears it might not take so long to remember that.

What happened was this. I went to work in a fast food restaurant. The first morning I was nervous. I was much older than those usual teeny boppers who ask you if you'd like fries with that? Heck I was old enough to be their mother. But the first morning I was teamed up with two women close to my age. And one of them had a mouth on her. On one hand I could relate to her hardness, her mouthiness and her sexual innuendo full comments. On the other hand she scared me. I didn't know how to react and it panicked me. We made our way into the back to prep some salads and muffins. I went through the swinging back door reminding myself that if I really found it too hard I could quit. Yay! What a relief. And in that moment this woman turned around and her voice faded out as I saw, I mean really saw, for a split second, her eyes. The thought flew through my mind, "she has kind eyes". And with that thought I was undone. In seeing her as she really was, I could never go back to seeing the world through those cynical eyes of my own.

To this day whenever I find cynicism running full bore through my thoughts and through my words, I stop and take stock of what is happening in my life. It's become a warning bell of sorts. And while I still don't see myself as a romantic (and I mean no disrespect to those of you who are)I'd like to think I'm a little less disillusioned and a little less hearing impaired these days. Ya think?

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