Drawn to the Dark

People like giving me nicknames.  I wouldn’t say I have a dull personality, but I certainly don’t think I have an extraordinary one either.  But somehow, they continue to come.

In college, my friends called me the ‘Intimidator’.  I cannot tell you how many people have been deathly afraid of me.  I’ve always felt a bit odd about that.  People think I enjoy the power.  In reality, it made me very confused.

I love to laugh.  And if you hangout with me, I bet I will make you laugh with me.

But even as I try to defend myself, I realize that I’m not really a man given to smiling.  People often speak of seeing a light when they slip into momentary death, a light that calls out to them.  But I wonder, if I saw that light, what I would do.  Because, I notice that one of the more dominant patterns of my life is that I am drawn to the dark.

I’m the sort of person who stays up late with only the moon and streetlights.  I have been known to drive aimlessly at odd hours of the night.  It fascinates me when I am in a room that is so dark, I can’t tell if I’m closing my eyes or not.

I’ve never seen Kill Bill, but most of my friends tell me that I’d like it.  I think it is because I am drawn to things noir.

I feel like I am constantly reaching a point in my life where I realize that things will never get easier.  I guess that means I’ve always been right.  I asked my professor today if pastoring is always like this.  He said yes.

I realize the easiest thing in the world would be not only for me to hide in my own shadows, but to also explore it.  I have faced my own loneliness with daring, I am now rarely afraid to face my own pain.  And I think that often what gets people beyond their fears of speaking to me privately is that they know I have a shadow over my face, even when the sun is out.

I recently preached a sermon on rejoicing.  To give you some background, I am terribly insecure about my own preaching.  I always wish someone else could stand in my place.  I always think that I am passing on my own insecurities and heresies to an unsuspecting crowd.  Just a few days ago, I listened to a CD of myself preach that sermon.  Oddly enough, it cut right into my heart.  The preacher pierced his own heart.  I guess I’m not that bad after all.

G.K. Chesterton is the only person I know who had the balls to tackle the problem of pleasure.  As I reflect on my own self, I am struck by the grace of God.  My faith is at a place where suffering is not something that makes me doubt God.  I have learned that suffering and loneliness are part of what it means to be human.  I expect it.  That the world and even my own body is wrought with sin is no surprise.  What strikes me is who am I to feel the pleasure of God? 

As I sit here in front of my deteriorating laptop, I sit in quiet awe and wonder at God’s incredible mercy upon me.  When God breathed life into me, he could have sneezed, he could have had halitosis, but somehow it made him happy to do it right.  And I am here, alive, to enjoy this moment.

2 thoughts on “”

  1. Intimidation is a gift from God. I wish I had more of it. I’m too dang friendly. But it needs to be balanced with humility or it will turn people into dictators.Philip Yancey also tackles the problem of pleasure, and I think he writes better than Chesterton. His books with Dr. Paul Brand detail how a life without pain is a life without necessary boundaries. It has a direct parallel to people who don’t follow God’s commandments. Commandments—and pain&mash;are there to warn us we’re going where we shouldn’t. Yet both have been twisted in people’s minds so that they shun and fear them instead of embracing them. If God didn’t care, He wouldn’t have given those gifts.

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