Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We watched The King's Speech Saturday. Every bit as good as it was made out to be. And the story really resonated with me--the story of man unmistakably, and unavoidably called to greatness, who nonetheless has a terrible, embarrassing weakness obvious to everyone.

My own vocation is not nearly so great, and neither is my weakness so obvious. But as I get closer to ordination, I have felt some intensification of anxiety about the significant amount of responsibility I will be taking on, and the fact that I am at heart so flawed and fragile.

I've always been something of a hypochondriac--never about physical illness, but about psychological maladies. My imagination keeps cooking up all these excuses, reasons why I'm really not fit to be a minister.

I can't do this job because I have an undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. I can't do this job because I'm really bipolar. I can't do this job because I'm on the verge of a psychotic episode. Or I'm suicidally depressed. Or I'm really transgendered. I can't do this because I'm not a human being at all, but a super-realistic android, and my whole life is just an experiment to see if a robot raised as a human can attain to a normal life. The experiment is failing. I should be deactivated and recycled for scrap metal.

But I'm afraid the truth is, I'm not crazy (above paragraph notwithstanding). I would like to be. I would like to have an excuse to give up, throw in the towel, jump off a bridge. But the truth is, I can do this job.

I keep clinging to an image of myself as utterly incapable of accomplishing anything, a complete and total failure. And yet, here I am one quarter away from completing an M.Div., getting ready to take ordination exams in August ...

Honestly, I don't know what to make of that. Obviously, the thoughts I have about myself are ridiculous distortions. Yet they hold some truth. I may not be crazy, except that to be human is a kind of madness.

Perhaps George VI was lucky to have such an obvious weakness--it made it clear up front that he was a flawed and fragile human being, like me, like everybody else--and that his greatness did not eliminate that frailty, but transcended it.

1 comment:

whitethoughts said...

Your blog made me laugh out loud, literally. Oh, we can say lol now (it is in the OED!!). I laughed not because what you were expressing was ridiculous but because I myself felt something very similar. I was convinced all the way through graduate school that it was all an elaborate experiment to see what would happen if they allowed an incredibly stupid person in, told her she was very clever, patted her on the head, pretended to read her papers, etc. I didn't get over that until the day I defended my dissertation. When I told others about this mania, I found out that nearly every person I admired in graduate school had the same delusion, and since then I've discovered that all of my professors had something like it as well. Wait - check that. All my female professors. I have some theories about that, but I've gone on long enough for a comment. No excuses - I believe in you, and so do so many others, and you can rely on that in those moments when you just aren't sure whether you should believe yourself