yesterday. Went to church but felt really restless and didn’t want to stay, so I left. Called up an old friend, the Big Fella, and stopped by his house. Been quite awhile since we had talked, it felt really good to be there. His life is in a bit of chaos right now, lots of things going on, as with most of us. Cracked me up that he had an “eye lift”, removing the extra skin from his eye lids, you know, the drooping thing. Still had black eyes from the surgery. His youngest daugther is pregnant, due in June. His middle daughter is just gorgeous, always seems to have a smile on her face. His oldest now has twins in addition to Meathead. Having problems on the domestic front, his ‘friend” is still living in the house but has apparently become addicted to crack and lives in her own room when she is there at all. We talked and talked, sitting out by the pool, watching the goats and horses. Didn’t make it home until after 10. Way cool.
My Amazon order came in and I started reading “Posers, Fakers, Wannabes” at lunch today. Turns out that it is a rewrite of ‘Abbas Child”, a book that SU and I read awhile back. The foreward is awesome, talk about hitting me between the eyes. I wish that all seminary students had to read some of Manning’s works; I think it would remove some of the harshness from pastors and church workers. But the part of the foreward that I enjoyed today was written by his co-writer on this re-write, Jim Hancock. Here is a quote:
I first took advice from The Poser when I was faking my way through junior high school. I wanted to fit in. I was afraid of being left out. The Poser helped me appear better than i was (or worse if worse was better). He helped me conceal the truth from people I thought might judge me as harshly as I judged me. I kept taking his advice because, mostly, it worked.
The Poser is the man of a thousand faces. He taught me how to construct a mask for any occasion from whatever I found lying around. With my musical friends I was all about whatever music they liked. For my jock friends I was brooding and barely verbal. When I got with smart kids I bluffed my way through by recalling trivia and making up stuff (wait a minute….I still do that!). With The Poser’s help I managed to hold my own into high school, but it was hard, exhausting work. I went to church (spiritual face), I hung out with friends (wise guy face), I wen out a little (sincere face). So many disguises, so little real fun, playing all those roles without knowing who I was. Or if I was anyone at all.
That is so me that it is as if I wrote it myself. Always trying to be the other person, never being or even knowing who I am. I’ve worked on that a lot and have managed to free myself somewhat but it (The Poser) just seems to stay in the background, ready to pounce when I least expect it, always pushing, pulling, turning me away from reality. Or as Manning says in his portion of the foreward:
The Imposter tries to convince me that, no matter what God says, Abba’s Child is a false identity, completely out of reach. The Imposter wants me to believe my only hope is to forsake my true self and become, as e.e. cummings put it, “everybody else”.