a bad night for the eyebrows

September 15, 2006

I have a nervous habit of pulling out my eyebrow hairs one by one while I'm reading. The interesting thing is that it only happens when I am reading something that is in theory relaxing, yet that activity of reading itself is meant to distract me from some uncomfortable thought.

I’ve been having a somewhat unhappy time in my life, overall – the first September in a long time when nothing started. Then again, over the last few weeks, my eyebrows had almost recovered from the last binge. But I started looking at a compendium of movie reviews tonight and here I am, three hours later, my brows stripped bare.

Here is the thought I’m trying to avoid: plans for the future are not the achievement of some abstracted mental process, but an organic development arising from the daily process of living with some integrity – of living hopefully – of living as if one has a future. It is no good trying to plan for my future when I am reluctant to fully live the day currently at hand. For me, truly, it’s got to be one day at a time. The troubling implication is that, having committed myself to God through Xianity, I am now obliged to actually live as a Christian on a daily basis. As hard as I may try to make my Xian identity a matter of disembodied intellect, it’s a lost cause, because insofar as I succeed I have only erected a barrier – not between myself and God – but between my mind and my body, between my past and my future, between myself and my self. All of my resources for daily living, I am realizing, are locked up behind the same heavy door which presently protects me from my embarrassing and disturbing Lord.

There is no path to a fuller life that circumvents that locked room. There is no other foundation on which to build my life. When I think about this I feel a sickened feeling in my gut – as an experienced sinner, I know that actual obedience to God will be uncomfortable. I am not experienced enough as a saint to have a compensating pleasurable anticipation of glory.

I know I’ve written enough because I want to pull at my eyebrows again. Anything further would be a sideshow.


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