I’ve come to realize in the last year or two that there is a notable difference between self-negligence and selflessness, namely the intent. I have come to learn that my desire to “be selfless” came out in the form of me believing that that meant I had to completely give up everything I’ve wanted and everything that made my own life better. While I’ve learned there is some merit to this, I’ve also learned that if I’m not doing it in the right mind and heart and if I’m, metaphorically speaking, dead because I’ve neglected myself then it is worthless.
I’ve found that the places I am most selfless are the places I actually want what is best for someone else. When I give up a road trip to see a friend I can see some other time so I can attend a once in a lifetime experience of another friend. When I come back to Huntington to just be more available to a friend who has had a loved one die, instead of staying in Fort Wayne to hang out with a friend who is only in town for a week. When I give up talking about myself so much and start looking people in the eye when they speak instead of my typical wandering and uncomfortable eyes, even though looking people in the eye freaks me out.
Giving up what I want because someone else wants it and is making a bigger deal about it, isn’t it selfless it’s avoiding conflict. Not going somewhere I was invited because I feel like it was a pity invite and I would be a burden isn’t selfless. It’s mopey.
What I’ve learned and am continuing to learn is that self-negligence isn’t selfless unless your intent is for the very best for someone else. What I’ve learned and am continuing to learn is that self-negligence isn’t selfless if my intent is simply to ensure I have the very worst. What I’ve learned and am continuing to learn is that self-negligence isn’t selfless (most of the time) at all. It’s actually very selfish.
I very distinctly remember sitting there next to Claire Smith, my clarinet in my hand. Mr. Borror was completely oblivious, but I noticed when Aaron and Nathan got up to go out back. When Phil and Sherry walked across the gym floor without Ed I knew something wasn’t right. I knew that Ed wouldn’t miss Phil’s senior night for anything. When the ceremony ended and the game started a few of completely ignored KennyB123 direction to start the song. We got up and headed across the floor to the locker room hallway. Some stupid boy from the opposing school said something offensive to me, but I just kept walking. I went to the commons and we started praying. A big group of people I hardly knew, just started praying. We didn’t know anything for certain we just knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t much later that night we learned that Ed Maurizi passed away. Missy was one of my dearest friends and I had spent a lot of time at the Maurizi house. I had gone to an ‘N Sync concert with Missy and Ed (and Kate and Dave and my dad). I wanted to go over to their house right then, but what would that do? Crowd an already very crowded house (7 kids and a huge church family). So I sat in my room and prayed. And when the doorbell rang around 1 I knew who it was. My dad opened the door. We were all still awake. Seconds later Katelyn was sitting on my bed with me and we were both sobbing. The events that unfolded are your typical story. I won’t bore with the details.
When Jess texted me at 4 on Monday morning I found myself at a loss again. I prayed. I prayed and prayed. I told Jenn and Frauf. I prayed and prayed, and passed out again some time between 5:30 and 6:00. I got a text from Jenn around 7:30 and answered and prayed again until I fell asleep again. I got up around 10:00 and left for Huntington. I’m not a terribly useful person when it comes to these things. I just sat around Huntington until around 4:00 when I knew Jess was going to be at Good Shep. I don’t know how to be useful.
I want so much to help. I want so much to know how to deal with things. I want to be available to anyone who might need it. I find myself stuck in the same place though. I only know to pray. I know how to be in the proper area so I can be more readily available. When a friend leaves for a missions trip all I can do is pray. I never know what to say to them. Offer a hug maybe. I’ve no sagely advice, no helpful tips, no words of encouragement.
It’s not a really a journey, because I’ve not made any progress in any direction. I’m not moving. I’m only doing what I know, and it doesn’t feel like much or enough.