Very often, while doing normal things, I remember odd fears from my past. Some of the stuff I used to be afraid of really bothers me, but usually it just seems weird. Either way, it’s always a chance to rethink my life experiences in terms of God’s grace.
Last week while playing drums I remembered how frightened I used to get, thinking a masked marauder type guy with a cutting knife might appear in the house to make mincemeat of me. For consolation, my dad told me that when he was a kid he was afraid a pirate guy in red and white striped pants was hiding out in the basement, waiting all hours of the day and night to chase him up the stairs. Taken alone, either of the imagined assailants seems pretty horrible, but it’s sort of amusing to imagine the pirate guy and the marauder showing up in the house right at the same time. I think it would probably turn out sort of like in Terminator 2 or Alien vs. Predator. Somehow, when two bad guys meet up, one of them almost always jettisons the whole bad guy thing in favor of heroism.
Like in AVP, it turns out that the predators, always hostile toward humanity in their previous movies, were at one time worshipped as deities and handed down a great deal of knowledge and technology to humans. The trade off wasn’t too grand though. In the days of predator worship a great deal of human sacrifice was demanded. Anyway, it’s just a gut feeling, but I think the pirate would reach out and grab the marauder’s arm right as the knife was headed for my chest.
Sometimes, the things I remember reveal a lot about my nature. In my car, driving to the college where I teach a writing class, I recalled informing my grandpa that I wanted to be God. “Grandpa,” I said, “I want to be God.” Grandpas must be used to this sort of thing because he wasn’t surprised or angry about it. He explained that I was mistaken, because if I happened to become God, I would have the duty of bottling every tear anyone ever cried. I thought that maybe grandpa hadn’t really thought through the whole issue very carefully. At that age I had already gotten to the bottom of the true identity of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I was well acquainted with sweet sounding fabrications that people give to kids. I figured, albeit in less grandiose terminology, that the whole tear-bottling thing is a metaphorical sort of arrangement, and anyway if I became God I could just speak a word and create a tear-bottling factory. Problem solved.
Bottling tears wasn’t actually the big deal. The big deal was that I was a very scared little man at the age of seven, and I figured if I could just be God for a while, I could grant myself immortality like the old Greek gods did for people, and go back to sleeping soundly instead of worrying about everything. I worried about how small I was compared to the universe, and I worried that beloved family members would die in car wrecks, and I worried that I would one day blink out of existence like a star out on the edge of space. Death really was a hellish blight in my mind, and I was pretty jealous of God. I wanted His power so I could escape my fears about dying.
So, while driving, I realized that even though I don’t really have the desire to be God anymore, I sort of feel like I should be the guy who gets to sit right beside Jesus. You know, in case He needs to lean over and ask my advice every once in a while. Admittedly, I worship the not so golden deity of self.
I originally intended to write about how I’ve changed my ways and that I’m through trying to grasp at equality with God, but I just got a phone call from a really sweet girl who wanted to see if I wanted to go with her to a party and the conversation convinced me that I haven’t changed my ways at all. Somehow, I was able to talk to her about myself without much of a pause for the entire five minutes she was on the line. I was sort of appalled to hear strain after strain of self-absorption spill out of my mouth, and I kind of wanted to ask her questions and find out what her life is like, but something else in me, something very strong, kept me jabbering away about my imminence. I often feel it is important to convince others that I am something of a God. I think that in my heart, I am a marauder sneaking around the house, and I need Jesus to chase me up the stairs and grab my arm before I can do any real damage. It maybe would have been nice if Jesus had grabbed my arm and hung up the telephone.
I used to think it was fairly easy to live following the 10 Commandments, although I don’t think I really understood them at all. I thought having no other gods just meant as long as you didn’t bow down to a little statue, no rules are broken. I kind of prided myself on having amazing virtue. But really, I’ve been breaking that law with gusto my whole life, placing myself in the position of God as often as possible.
I don’t think it’s an overwhelming surprise to God that I am wrapped up in pride. Like how grandpa didn’t get mad at me, I think God almost expects to hear His little creatures inform Him of their readiness to usurp His position. I am convinced Jesus wants to offer us a place in His kingdom and lovingly disarm us of pride and foolishness and fear so we can properly see and participate in the beauty of the life He has created.