human machinery


it's time you knew:  i'm a mechanical engineer.
i don't usually like people to know.  it intimidates them
especially the english majors.
but here, look i'll show you:


i drew a machine for you.
and it's fairly obvious that i understand the inner workings of pistons and what not.
okay, tuck this away in the back of your brain for a moment.  i'll be right back to it.

do you ever feel overwhelmed by your lack in certain areas?
lack of ability?  failing in one area (okay 6 areas of your life) over and over again?
no noticeable improvement or growth at certain tasks?
you see people who seem to excel with gifts or strengths you wish you had.
like this drawing for example.  some of you are struck with a deep deep covetousness right now, because YOU cannot draw and understand machinery like me.  don't worry you are not alone.

thomas merton, my monk buddy says,
"if we live our lives for others, we will gradually discover that no one expects us to be 'as gods.'  we will see that we are human like everyone else,
that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play an important role in all our lives. 
it is because of them that we need others and others need us."

i think, "but that doesn't feel good, thomas."
i don't know what to do besides try, try, try to "get fixed."  granted, it never quite happens, and i spend most of life frustrated.  but being let "off the hook?"  well, that seems almost sacrilegious.
besides what if some of my "deficiencies" are big ones, that hurt others?
it's a quandary, i tell you.

"on the hook" and "off the hook" are things i understand.
recently i realized that often if anyone says, "i want to talk to you about something," i assume i'm about to be corrected or disciplined.
that seems unhealthy.
why do i assume that?
is my conscience that unclean? 
i think it's more that -- well, for one, i'm being pretty self-focused--but two, in my mind I'm always guilty of something, and i'm always on the hook.  legitimately too.  i screw up a LOT every single day.



i think God is all about the hook too.  however, i think His focus is on letting us off the hook.
freedom.
but we try to keep hanging ourselves back up on the hook.
i don't think He's tricky and trying to make things complicated.
i think He's just like, "Get off the hook already.  Stay off the hook.  The rest will work out, Honey."

so for the big and little deficiencies, we're off the hook.
and as for the frustrating weaknesses,
merton says "we are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another."


(this is really good enough to post twice)


and when i see this in my mind, we're like one big human machine of pistons and arms moving up and down, popping out peppermints or something.
oh?  you couldn't tell those were peppermints?  don't feel bad.  probably you just went to a liberal arts college.  you have other gifts, i'm sure.

but in this machine i picture metal arms and joints, some pushing up with force, some easing down passively, then reversing...taking turns, up and down.
and as humans, we're sometimes actively doing what we are strong in, and other times, passively coasting while the other people are moving with strength where they're gifted.  all at the same time.
working.
together. 

you can feel it in marriage, friendships, working relationships, parenting, dating...
but the main thing is that you feel it in relationship.
communion with others.
you don't feel it so much when alone.
which is the point, i guess.

[insert your own perfect wrap up sentence here]

3 comments:

  1. Great post. Thanks so much for the visuals. Now can we work on numbers?
    Sincerely,
    The Other "E" Major

    (No, really, great stuff here.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. math is a mythical witchcraft with which we need not bother.
      don't you agree?

      Delete
  2. Love this. So transparent, so true. Good good good.

    ReplyDelete