This has possibly been the best and worst year of my life. I turned 35 a few days ago and I’ve never been fatter. I sold my house after having to beg from my friends for money and while I work for myself, few people ever pay me on time.
But I’m not complaining. The best part about being somewhat self-employed is setting your own hours and being your own boss. The problem is, I’ve never been good at telling people what to do, much less myself and so how I’ve managed to pay bills on time and continue a comfortable standard of living has been beyond me.
I guess I am quite blessed. God, despite my incessant sinfulness, has for some reason continued to shower me with favor. I will be on the verge of being homeless and then suddenly I have so much money that I’m giving it away.
But this year has to have been by far the loneliest. When I was in Plano, not living near my friends and family, then feeling alone was to be expected. But now I am surrounded by people that love me, just doors away, but they can’t be with me continually and if they could I probably wouldn’t want that. Instead, I selfishly wish that they could be around to entertain at my beckon call and then vamoose when I’ve had my fill.
Being alone is like being hungry, no matter how much you stuff yourself, you will one day be hungry again.
So yesterday was Christmas Eve and I think it is the first time I’ve ever spent it in solitude. I picked up some barbecue and feasted in front of the television watching reruns of 30 Rock and channel surfing. To lift my spirits I download “Hard Candy Christmas” from Dolly Parton and listened to it on repeat while texting friends and living vicariously through Facebook.
The worst part is that although I don’t want to be alone, I don’t exactly want to be with people either. Being with people means I have to be happy and talking and making polite conversation. If I went to a Christmas Eve Candlelight service I’d be forced to put on some ill-fitting jeans that cut off my circulation from the waist down and stretch a plaid shirt over my large frame like saran wrap over the remains of a turkey.
Once inside the church I’d sing Christmas carols and hope that we could stand all night knowing that sitting down would might snap me in two or pinch me in half – either way, I do not like the idea of being separated from my legs or private parts for that matter and it always frightens me when I see someone in a wheelchair without the aforementioned anatomy.
Standing alongside my family I feel the eyes of my friends staring at me. I imagine them thinking, “Why is Eddie still single?” their lips moving and singing, but no real thought given to the words being sung. “If he’d lose some weight he could find a nice girl.” Then they look with pride at their own brood as if by somehow having found love and having a handful of kids somehow made them… whole.
When the singing is all done and the food is all eaten and the gifts are unwrapped, I come back home to my apartment, sit in front of my television, pick up my MacBook and start working to drown out the fact that my life is at times, frighteningly pathetic.
I’d like to stop a moment and say that I’m not wallowing in self-pity or despair, just rather making a quick summation of my life. While I get to work with students and do ministry, I have no one to really share my success or joy. My life is not truly challenging because I don’t have someone that sees me for who I really am and then pushes me beyond what I am capable. For the first time in my life I know why God created Eve. While God himself was enough for Adam, he understood that as humans we have a need for someone who is on our own level that further clarifies who God truly is, then he took that one step further with children.
Hey, maybe I’ll dye my hair
Maybe I’ll move somewhere
Maybe I’ll get a car
Maybe I’ll drive so far
They’ll all lose track
Me, I’ll bounce right back
Maybe I’ll sleep real late
Maybe I’ll lose some weight
Maybe I’ll clear my junk
Maybe I’ll just get drunk on apple wine
Me, I’ll be just
Fine and Dandy
Lord it’s like a hard candy Christmas
I’m barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won’t let
Sorrow bring me way down…