Looking at the dates, I realize that today, it is exactly two years since the start of this blog.
And no, I will NOT title this post 'Throwback Thursday,' appealing as the chance may sound.
It's staggering, to me, to realize how many posts I've unwittingly written since, and even more staggering to realize how many kind readers have taken the time to drop by almost every day since. I never really imagined reaching a two year milestone, to be honest. Low expectations, I know. There are times when just getting out the weekly article felt like, to paraphrase Gene Fowler, staring at the blank text box until drops of blood came out on your forehead.
I've learnt a lot since then through the upkeep of this blog, and I don't just mean the technological side of it either. (though that certainly plays a big part. Ugh.) Yes, I haven't always managed to post every week--prophecy fulfilled--but I'm quite amazed that this blog, its little readership, and most of all my spluttering pen (okay, that's a figure of speech. Sticky laptop keys would much more accurate) have persevered till today. For that, I want to thank all the quiet readers who have encouraged me with their readership when I struggled to keep to the discipline of writing weekly. I'm perfectly aware that my writing is far from the greatest, and--even more discouragingly--far from the best it could be; I don't manage to edit it or think over it half as much as I would like to, to read as widely and as deeply as I would like to.
In fact, I rather dislike looking back at old posts, petrified by the fear that I may stumble across some absolutely awful, shabby articles that will cast me writhing into the throes of insecurity and despair. Well, I've survived so far in my pathetic foray into the dangerous world of the internet and self-proclaimed opinions; no one has sent me any death threats, and I don't think I've grown more hypocritical--hopefully, humbler, having had to face my limitations so much. Honestly, any delusions I had on my inspiration or intellectual depth are significantly lower now than when I first started this blog.
I will keep trying to write about things which are relevant and personal--hopefully, also thoughtful and helpful, please God. And if you have ever found this blog helpful, or at the least mildly interesting, please pray that it will continue to bless both its readers and its writer. My prayer is that this blog will continue to live up to its name--that, as this excerpt from my favourite hymn beautifully expresses, it will continue to point others and myself, upwards.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upwards I look, and see Him there,
Who made an end to all my sin,
~Before the Throne of God Above
Growing up hurts.
Growing up inevitably means confronting flaws--in yourself, in others, in our world--that you never saw before as a child. Hence, when the Rebelution shared an article titled Grow Up, Don't Grow Cynical I felt it couldn't be a more apt summary of my feelings.
The inevitable disillusionment of growing up is a great temptation to become embittered, and accept cynicism as the mindset with which you view life and people.
The friends we once thought were so effortlessly close, or so perfectly suited to us, change. Betrayal. Hurt. Quarrels. Drifting apart. Grudges. Things we thought our friendship was safe from, like a helium balloon floating happily over the minefield of messy friendship problems we saw everywhere else and especially in internet angst. We're too close for that.
Even the church we thought was an exception to all the other 'messed up' churches you hear about--'ahh, they're just not like OUR church!'--eventually shows the same weaknesses threatening to erupt into the same problems we once looked complacently, self-righteously on from afar, with no idea that the same ugly sores lay so close to home.
And we lapse into disillusionment and discouragement, and after struggling in that mess for a while, sink deeper into a layer of bitterness and cynicism that we embrace, that clings to us.
People are always like that.
They're all hypocrites...
You can't trust anyone, I've learnt that.
Yeah, that's what he/she SAYS. (significant emphasis)
I know better than to believe that now...
How many times have you heard those phrases, or been tempted to say them yourself?
The struggle with bitterness is a very real one. And the worst part is that most people don't even see it as a struggle, but the inevitable conditioning of life, or 'reality.'
Disillusionment is a reminder that perfection is something we were created for, but can now only find in heaven. Disillusionment is a reminder that sin corrupts everything, even those things with the greatest semblance of God's goodness. Disillusionment forces humility upon us--not the lonely perverted pride of cynicism.
It prevents us from developing the self-righteous, dangerously complacent 'my fishknives are the best' mentality that C.S. Lewis so aptly described in The Screwtape Letters; from blindly following any one institution, person, or group, from relying on other people's representations and commands rather than seeking out meaning in the Bible and a personal knowledge, personal relationship with Christ and the Father.
From fixing our hearts and minds too much on earth.
It stops us from depending on others, which isn't necessarily always bad. But more importantly, it should teach us to depend on Christ--and not result in us depending on ourselves. Humans must rely on something. If we stop relying on others, we end up relying on ourselves--and if we've learnt anything from our disillusionment we should question what makes us think that we're any better.
Because we change too. That is both the most beautiful and most painful part of growing up.
But as C.S. Lewis (again!) phrases it in An Experiment in Criticism:
The process of growing up is to be valued not for what we lose, but for what we gain.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are