January 3: The Ninth Day

IX. What I Am

Lord Jesus Christ, you created me, redeemed me, and preordained me to be this that I am, you know what to do with me; do with me in accordance with your will, with mercy. Amen.

When I saw myself for the first time it was a shock – and I don’t mean a surprise, I mean a feeling like putting a finger in a light socket. There I was, just as other people see me, an asshole and not a very good or nice person.

I already knew that, but knowing and feeling are very different. I could feel what others were feeling; dislike, mistrust, bitterness, even hatred. My comments, my bearing, my demeanor all communicated that I did not care about other people or what they were doing or how they felt.

My disloyalty, even though it was to avoid getting hurt or perishing in a sea of emotion, was obvious. People want to feel good; they need to be happy. I was dismissive of this need because I didn’t need it. The most basic signs and signals that I wanted to be like, the reciprocity of every day kindness, however false, were ones I couldn’t make.

This attitude and behavior hurt people, but my decision had always been, “that is their problem.” If someone didn’t like something I said, why not just tell me? Why internalize it and turn it into dislike of me?

The prayer above is the Henry VI Prayer. All along the way, I could see ways I could have been or at least acted different, but my path seemed determined for me; but I am still responsible for the consequences.

“This profound self-examination dredged up all my wretchedness and brought it together in a heap before the eyes of my heart.”

To January 4