I’m tired. Tired of God and tired of men. Tired of the spiritual life and tired of the mortal life. Just, in so many ways, tired.
I’m tired of God. We know a few things about God. He’s all powerful, all knowing, transcendent, immortal, unknowable and inscrutable. That’s a good place to be for Him. But it does make it hard to take him seriously. Why would this being, a being Karen Armstrong aptly called the remote Sky God (because he’s somewhere up there and doesn’t really do anything down here) care one jot about what’s going on down here? And the usual answer, trotted out, is that we’re not capable of understanding Him. That the idea, the true nature, of God is something so beyond the capacity of the mortal mind to comprehend that it would be folly for us to try. We can at best engage in approximations: analogies of what God is like – or what His attributes are like. But he is none of those things and all of these things, because even those words are limited by our limited appreciation of their true meaning. So that to call him Forgiving simply does not comprehend the nature and extent of his infinite mercy. To call him Just does not comprehend the nature and extend of his perfect justice. To which the immediate rebuttal is that why did he make us that way? It was his choice to limit our capacities, and if as a result he feels underappreciated, I don’t see how that should necessarily be attributed to me. As one of my friends says, if you have a problem with every model available, then you have a problem with the manufacturer not the product. And that should really be resolved by the manufacturer. In this case, He is the manufacturer, so seems to be a bit odd to blame the mortal.
It’s hard to be religious and tired of God.
I’m tired of men. I’m tired of hypocrisy and lies. Of evasion and falsehoods. Of fake smiles and sincere cruelty. I’m especially tired of seeing this in people who profess to be holy men, religious men, devout men, honest men, men of integrity, and men of character. Men who intend to be scared of their Lord or their professional regulator, but instead seem only worried about their mortal skins and material gains. At least, when those who are only scared of their professional regulator go out and lie, cheat, steal, bully, ignore, abuse, manipulate and coerce, they do so without relying on a moral authority that their very conduct undermines. Of course, I understand why it happens. People are being people, with all the insecurities, worries, work to avoid, easy paths to take, difficult choices, personal preferences and capricious whims that are heir to the mortal condition. And yes, I do know that people are more than this. That people can be, and often are, good. That they can be kind, and welcoming, and warm, and giving and generous. Except that I don’t want these things of them either. I would not be a recipient of their generosity, kindness, giving, welcoming or warmth. It rings false to me when they are capable of so much that accrues to the other, crueller, side of the personality divide. And yes, I know that I do it too.
It’s hard to be sociable and tired of People.
I’m tired of the spiritual. If I were to answer in truth, I would say that my spiritual side was dying more every day. Part of that is everything that I’ve talked about already, above, but part of that is also about how little spiritual response I feel to things that are meant to move me spiritually. The things that people say lift them, change them, hold them, support them, give them the strength of faith and the comfort of certainty don’t hold for me anymore. Faith and certainty seem quaint outcomes of a limited perspective and a closed mind. The arguments of those who have a narrow vision of how people can live their lives, the choices they can make, and a paternalistic instinct in making sure people make the choices that they perceive to be right. Sometimes, so many times, those choices seem to align suspiciously with the motives in my previous paragraph. So I have doubt. Lots and lots of doubt. Lots of questions. Lots of uncertainty as to the smugness and self-assuredness of the faithful. People who behave in ways that are selfish and capricious, sure in the knowledge that they are the elect and the chosen (and it doesn’t matter what faith they belong to in this regard) and that every one else is misguided. And yes, I know that I do it too.
It’s hard to hope and be tired of the spiritual life.
I’m tired of the mortal. Is this really it? Is this what happens for the next 40 – 50 years of my life? I work, hard, forever, living life in 2 week or 3 week increments, stolen glimpses of freedom and space, time and opportunity, hope and freshness, and then to return back to the grind. What’s the point of all of this? Is it to die with the most toys? To die with more toys? Die with enough toys? Why would any rational sane individual make any of these choices? What kind of folly would it be to blithely continue down this path? And those are the easy questions. Harder ones are why I’m doing this, who benefits, who hopes to benefit and how come I benefit so little? Oh so many questions and not an answer in sight. Almost feels like there no point in asking these questions, since they lead only to counsels of despair. Especially so when I don’t particularly care for material outcomes. I don’t want fancy things. I don’t need designer clothes, or elaborately stitched hand crafted leather goods. I don’t care whether I own a house, or five. Once you’re over that level of comfort and subsistence, I don’t see the mortal life being directed by the pursuit of economic gain. So my material life is aimed at the material gain of others predominantly, since I know now that these won’t particularly satisfy me? But material things are important and material things are a necessity. So yes, I know that I need these things too.
It’s hard to work and be tired of the mortal life.
I find myself at a crossroads. There is very little left to loose when you are tired of your religious life, your spiritual life, your social life and your work life. There is not much of a safety net below these questions and despair. These are gnawing questions, that pollute the soul and drag down the heart. These are dirty questions, that spread their toxic burdens into every other thought and every other source. They are water closing over a drowning man; a last chance to see water bedazzled by sunlight but too far away, almost certainly, to ever break to the surface again.
I could ask someone, I could seek guidance, seek answers, seek truth. But tell me – why should I trust you? You too are likely to be religious or atheist. You too are likely to be human. You too are likely to have a spiritual and a material life. And I am very apt to mistrust your answers, because after all your actions will seem smug and self-assured to me.
And so I am where I choose to be. Uncertainly carrying a heavy burden of doubt, unsure of where I am coming from or where I am going. Unsure of why I am journeying and why I would want to arrive. Uncertain that any other traveller on this road knows where to go any better, and convinced that many are lying when they offer maps, guidance and shortcuts. Is it any wonder I’m tired?