Disarming Despair

beetleToday’s beginning was inauspicious. I like the sound of that sentence. It sounds regal. It sounds poetic. And it kinda does a good job at hiding how the day actually started.

And I’m afraid that if you really knew how today started, you may not have confidence enough to finish reading this post. Believe me, there are times I doubt whether or not I can finish writing it, but that’s a different story for a different time.

No, I won’t tell you the details about today’s beginning. I won’t tell you that our truck ran out of gas in the driveway while it was warming up. Nor will I tell you that, upon borrowing our house-mate’s cute little Volkswagen Bug for a cute little jaunt over to the nearest gas station, I cursed our empty gas tank under my breath.

Because who wants to know the details of my life anyways, especially these embarrassing kinds of details?

tmiWould you be happy to read about a poor fool at a freezing gas station smacking his face up against his house-mate’s Volkswagen’s popped-up back hatch? These are just the type of details that the internet is littered with, after all, and I would hate to contribute to the larger problem the kids know in shorthand as tmi. 

But mainly I don’t want to share this information with you because I am afraid you might think less of me, dear reader. In fact, you might be inclined to laugh at my misfortune. Or worse, you might be inclined to extend pity.



My inclination, though, is that we need each others’ stories. We need to hear that others are weak, needy, bad at estimating everything from gas mileage to depth perception. We need to hear that we are not the only ones who have issues, whose failures elicit laughter and, yes, pity.

My inclination is also that there is a larger point here; a point that can be summed up in one word: repentance. 

As I declare my foolishness, my neediness, my follies, I am declaring much more than what is on the surface. I am declaring more than the fact that I am imperfect. I am declaring that my imperfections do not disqualify me from that most precious of human gifts, namely hope.

If I can declare that I am a mess and have confidence that I am still eligible for hope, then what powers do my own failures have over me? Despair’s greatest weapon against us is silence. And it seems that when we have faith enough to declare our independence from perfection, hope has already disarmed despair.

May our ability to name our weaknesses correspond with our journey into freedom from the tyranny of our selves.

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