Friday, September 4, 2009

The Blessings of Apathy

Jacob is recovering so well. He is waking up enough every now and then to say "I want a blanket," or to my dad "I'll watch the 49ers game with you". There is talk of the trach tube and the feeding tube coming out soon. All huge blessings. He is so vulnerable and sweet right now... he truly is a blessing, to watch the faith that he is holding on to through this time... faith in the love that is being poured out on him, and in the love that he showers back in his smiles and interaction with us. But at the same time, it is incredibly important that he rests in this time. Not just sleeping... he will get tired, and often the only thing he can do is stare at the wall for hours (if we let him... we normally interrupt him with conversation or something medically related, which is good too.)

A good word that I use to describe this is apathy... which is probably not the best word, because it has a lot of negative connotations and is probably not totally true, because I'm sure his mind still races. But hopefully it will be useful for what I am about to say.
I was talking with a friend earlier this week. Me and him have both agreed that we both have very similar personalities - we tend to over-analyze, over think, constantly be checking ourselves, filling up with tasks for self-imporvement, etc, always wanting to go deeper and think more and do the best that we can. We both also agreed, that sometimes the best thing for us is to be apathetic. To just rest. Relax. Not think. Not try to improve. I think that it is a form of trusting, of having faith, of having hope... trusting that in this moment, God is sufficient to make up for my tiredeness, my doubt, my skepticism, my anger, my frustration, and just kick back and enjoy life, enjoy the moment. Maybe not even enjoy... but just stop. Just be.

We live in a context that is increasingly self-aware, putting labels on everything, increasingly seeking imporvement, seeking the bigger and the better, seeking the new understandings of things. At a certain point, we need to stop analyzing and just live. Just exist in our current context, and in that find hope and joy. In this moment. Find hope and joy in the fact that you are alive, that you exist, that you have another deep breath to take, that there is a a breeze blowing and a temperature to feel and a tree to look at against a deep blue sky. Sometimes I need to stop and be apathetic. Which is when I find it is not apathy at all... it is true joy.

I think that this is closely associated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We distort it so often by saying that we need to believe things in a correct way, we need to do certain mental things, jump through certain intellectual hoops, ascend to certain philosophical heights before we can be "saved." This is simply not true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says "I love you in your worst moments. I love you in the pit of your doubt and despair. I am right beside you when you feel alone. I am the comfort and hope for you when all else is gone. I know that you are weary... and so I offer you rest. You can just relax... I'm taking care of you. Granted, there will still be pain. Evil still exixts. But I am with you in that. In fact, I went into even deeper evil than you can ever imagine. I descended to the lowest depths of human existence, and then walked out of it; out of the tomb, out of death, out of despair."

This heart of God for us is made clear to me in the Gospel according to Matthew, when Christ says, among other things, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will finds rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He offers rest.

Earlier, when talking about John the Baptist, Christ says this: "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisone no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Maybe Christ is the one who is least yet greatest. Because he is the one who descended into greater depths than anyone of us will ever have to.

I'm hoping that you begin to see the sheer depths of how much we are loved in this... I am still just beginning on this discovery myself... how great is the Great Love, who would sacrifice his own will and way for us.

And so I rest, knowing that I am loved. I have hope. Contentment. Peace. Well, I try. Hoping that Jacob can rest, in knowing that he is loved. His hope is strong, because, I firmly beleive, of the love that all of you are pouring out. Whether you believe in a God or not, the love that you are showing to my family and to Jacob is very God-ly love. It is the epitome of the message of Christ.

-Robbie (Jacob's brother)


ladyk19 said...

What an awesome picture! Jacob is looking great and like he's healing well. So wonderful to see him coming back.

Anonymous said...

Dear Robbie--

Thanks so much for your insights into God's being there for us.... period. Sometimes, I just really need to hear that!

As far as what you call apathy, I think you are talking about what philosophers and psychologists would call "to be." Just to be in the moment. There is definitely a huge value to be had, a lot to learn and a joy that comes from this state of being. I think that it requires a lot of trust--in God and yourself--to allow this natural state to occurr.

Thanks for your words and insights into God and the human condition. Kitty

Noree said...

Robbie and all...
What a picture...what a picture.
Once again, your words inspire and uplift those who cling to the blog for these amazing updates.
To "just be" isn't an easy place to put yourself~especially with all that is going on around you. When next I pray for the Kirkendalls, which is so very often, I will take a moment to "just be" in the peace of God as I ask that He keeps you all in his loving arms.
Sending our love and prayers to all.
Bless, bless, bless,
Noree and family

Anonymous said...

What a great picture!!! Look forward to seeing more!

Lynlee said...

Love is God - regardless of where your belief is placed.... love is God, God is love. It is through the sharing of that love that we are at our best. I understand what you were trying to say with "Apathy" but feel you touched on the essence the best when you said "just being".... we often get lost in the doing - and in "being" we are about to rest and witness what is and always will be. Much love to you!

Anonymous said...

Robbie..... lots of luck on NOT being so introspective and over analyzing everything this is really a gift . what is so wonderful is that you can articulate from the depths of your soul your thoughts and feelings. you touch me to the core with your complete honesty. GOD BLESS YOU