The Dark Knight of my Soul


     WARNING: The following post strays from the usual lighthearted fare I usually present. Approach with caution and kindness, or just tell me to get over myself.

     The other day my 4-year-old wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and said, ” I love you Daddy and I’m going to hold you tight and never let you go”.  Tears started to slide slowly down my face, first because the sentiment she expressed depicted a perfect unconditional love that chases every other thought away and because it was without condition, I immediately wanted to reciprocate my love to her and felt wholly unable to do so with the intensity I felt inside me.

The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Ret...

Image via Wikipedia

     Of course I told her I loved her so much, and at 4 her understanding of my love for her is more practical in that I play with her and meet her various needs. Still it started me thinking how well do I really do at expressing my love to others.  I find this exercise of reflection at once both difficult and destructive.  I begin to internalize the multitude of ways I fall short and in turn begin to contemplate how I might do better.

     This is a spiral that leads me down a path to a comrade I am intimately familiar with, self loathing.  I want desperately to ignore this path, I would really rather call in a demolition crew to blow it up altogether! Truth be told we all have our internal battles to fight and as much as it presents itself in the physical world, this is a spiritual battle as well. Intellectually I can hypothesize that no one does it all right, that we all fall short, and giving our best efforts is enough. And so the battle rages between what I believe about myself and what my faith tells me I am supposed to believe.

     I apologize for the depressing nature of this post, but, I do wonder how many of you share similar struggles. I realize I am probably not alone in these thoughts and also realize the thought of sharing them from this platform may appear to be over-sharing and encroaches on our comfort level about just how vulnerable we should be.  However There is another side to our struggles. I believe many have private struggles and stuff them down, never to expose them for fear of ridicule or worse, those we have shared with don’t say anything, but suddenly their actions change, and by what they don’t say, judgement falls upon us.

  In reality when things are exposed to the light of day usually positive outcomes are experienced, others share now (because it feels safe to do so) that they have struggled with similar issues. People who care are empowered to offer help, or even have an empathy to how those struggles were not their own, but because you have shared, it brings a new understanding. Bringing it to the light isn’t without risks, surely there will be those who have not yet reached a place of maturity allowing them to empathize. Still, the risk is in my opinion, worth the possibility of the reward.

  I would love to hear your thoughts…

JT

Advertisements

About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
This entry was posted in God, health, introspection and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Dark Knight of my Soul

  1. When Self Loathing comes to visit me, he’s usually driven to my home by Guilt, and Regret climbs out of the back seat slamming the car door pretty loudly. As a child, I knew my mother loved me, but I can’t remember a time when she really said so. There were no goodnight hugs. My mother showed her love by caring for me, putting food on the table, driving me where I needed to be, etc. But still I felt something missing, so with my own children I made sure to do all the things she didn’t. The “I love you’s”, the stories at bedtime, the little notes sent in a lunchbox. And yet still, my children have told me sometimes they felt something missing. That is when I hold them, apologize for my imperfect love, and remind them that they are my world. And I realize that when they hold children of their own, they will know just how true that is. So I serve up Self Loathing and his friends a cup of coffee, spend a few minutes with them, then shoo them away and call my mother. Works every time. 🙂

  2. Paul Miller says:

    I too have been visited by those two ruffians 🙂 I think the problem is we feel as though we deserve our self loathing. We punish ourselves for or shortcomings and misdeeds. What’s worse is I sometimes feel guilty about certain behavior that, for whatever reason, I find very difficult to change. I’m a terrible procrastinator when it comes to certain things, and there has been huge consequences, but I can’t seem to overcome it. I’m better than I was—but I still feel the guilt and the frustration with myself.
    All in all though, guilt is what’s best for us, without the feeling of guilt where would we be? No remorse, no need for forgiveness, no grace? No thanks. Imagine what kind of place the world would be.

    • JT says:

      Yes Paul, I agree, without grace, at least my understanding of it, that would truly be devastating. The battle is one I believe common to us all, and one that we don’t like to share with others. Thanks for stopping by my friend.

  3. Mary says:

    I actually was part of a talk with some people today that is somewhat related to this topic. This person was talking about it slightly different but with the same gist. She was talking more about what we say outwardly to others about ourselves but I think it somewhat applies as well.

    I agree with Mama B in that self loathing can come out of guilt. Sometimes we have just made a mistake or messed up. That’s ok though, people make mistakes. The important part is the reaction afterwards. The whole asking for forgiveness and/or changing our behavior….etc. However, self loathing and any other self deprecating things are lies from the enemy of our souls. You are right when you say it is a spiritual battle. When we think unkindly or harshly of ourselves, she described it as the same as telling Jesus that dying on the cross wasn’t enough. The enemy wants us feeling poorly about ourselves. He wants us bound up in guilt. Now this is probably completely off course from what you were saying but the subject just kind of coincided with what you mentioned, somewhat.

    I also agree that too many people stuff their feelings to avoid ridicule and such. That is not ok. Going around putting on a mask just feeds those feelings of self loathing because it makes you feel like a fake. Here again are more lies that the enemy whispers in our ears. So it is a vicious cylce. Then of course you have to watch out to make sure the sharing doesn’t turn into a pity party, as you know how the saying goes, “Misery loves company”. Balance…..ugh…..so hard to achieve at times!!

    • JT says:

      Balance ugh, is right! Down one path we go then try to make a correction inevitably over-correcting and taking it too far in the other direction. So thankful i have you to share the ups and downs with 🙂

  4. You mention that the tension between what you believe about yourself and what “faith” tells you you are to believe about yourself. Maybe a problem with that “faith” approach?

    • JT says:

      Hmmm, a problem with that faith approach, I am not entirely sure I know what you mean. I know that my faith is weak but is stronger now than when I first believed. I understand that I have these struggles because my flesh is at war with my spirit, understanding that doesn’t mean that automatically I overcome, or even that I could overcome. Apart from Christ I can do nothing. Faith is a lifetime journey, not a flash in the pan experience and I am thankful that my God never gives up on me.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting, I am glad you did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s