Tuesday, February 5, 2008

viva minus 16

I truly don't know where the days go.

Yesterday started great, but ended with a big headache. Still, as days go, it was a really good one.

What I want to focus on today is why "I knew you could do it!" can feel like the opposite of an "attaboy!"

On the one hand, it's nice that people have confidence in you. On the other hand, if everything you undertake is a 'done deal', then there's no sense of accomplishment. I think that this is what people tend to overlook when they say: "I knew all along there was nothing to worry about - you were just being ridiculous to worry so much!"

I'm not a worrier by nature. But this doctorate was - and is - no 'done deal', and I kind of resent the implication that it was/is. Even as I can also recognize that the people who so imply, probably do so under the [false] impression that they are thereby building my self-esteem by stating their supreme confidence in my abilities. It's a delicate balance. Confidence in the outcome, but still preserving the real challenge presented and the real precariousness of success! If success is a given, how can there be a real challenge?

I see that we're back to conflict, and the need for conflict in any compelling story. The trick is to somehow preserve the "I had no doubt" while at the same time being able to experience all hope fade.

Which leads me right back to the question of "faith".

I think I mentioned yesterday that we've been reading the book of Hebrews - chapter 11.
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. . . . [keeping our] eyes on the one who is invisible.

Funny, because elsewhere it says that "without faith, it is impossible to please God", and I think that this is part of the same question I'm struggling with. Just maybe the other side of the coin. God wants us to have confidence in him, in spite of the real adversities; I'd like acknowledgment of the real adversities I've faced, in spite of my family's confidence in me.

[and OK, just so you know, it's my mother we're talking about here. As far as she's concerned, there was never any question at all about my ability to do this - her only question is why I've been dawdling so much, getting it finished.]

Like I said, it's a delicate balance. I could be facing the other side of the coin, the "I don't know why you even try, you'll never succeed!" Which reminds me of a favorite C.S. Lewis quote, to the effect that we are like the drunk man who climbed on a horse and fell off one side, and then climbed back on only to fall off on the other side. . . . There's plenty of room for error on either side of this narrow path!

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