Monday, September 29, 2008

letting it go

i am terrified to do what we dug into yesterday at journey worship. that's not true. i'm not always afraid. but this is one of those things about the spiritual path in many traditions, and in jesus' life and teachings and death and resurrection, that is central.
we've been doing a worship unit based on a training regimen that the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights used for orienting and preparing young african-american and european-american adults to demonstrate during the civil rights movement. they had to be made ready. like boot camp before battle. the list is rigorous and challenging. it's been screwing with all us journeyers' heads and hearts. like boot camp with jesus.
yesterday's was:
5. SACRIFICE PERSONAL WISHES IN ORDER THAT ALL MEN [AND WOMEN] MIGHT BE FREE.
the issue of examining what my "personal wishes" is a scary one, especially when it gets to whether i should be able to have my personal wishes fulfilled.
it struck me as i was talking that i've let go of my attachment to my black pickup truck. i wanted a truck for years. texans like trucks. men like trucks. i grew up riding in pickup trucks with men - my stepfather, my grandfather, my grandmother's boyfriend (after my grandfather died) - all men with trucks. i've had mine a few years; i bought it from one of my very best friends ever. it's a bit beat up. one of the corners squeaks when i go over a bump. it used to be red and now it's black with a few tiny spots of red showing through. or maybe the red is from when it was repaired after a wreck, before i got it.
it's decorated with little stuffed cartoon characters and a bouncing jesus on the dash, and a buddha on a cell phone, and it's got bumper stickers. it bears my creative spirit. i'm taking me with me on the road. and austinites spend a lot of time on the road.
for years we were so broke that we drove whatever car we could get. so i was so, so, so happy to get my man-truck. i feel great when i drive it. and i have a right to it, dammit!
and god said, Do you really have to have that in order to be free, and help others be free?
my rationalization has been, "it was inexpensive, and i haven't bought a fancy car, and i can haul things for family and friends and for journey," which i have (a lot). jeff goldblum's character says in the big chill, "I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations.” i don't know how any of us in the middle - to - upper - classes in america could live any part of any day without rationalizations to keep all the shit we have. we're the richest culture ever on the face of the earth. who do we think we are to keep buying stuff we don't need?
AND - what about other personal wishes? status. achievement. comfort. safety. good health. time. fulfillment. luxury. control. we think we're entitled to this stuff. or, at least, it hasn't really occurred to us, down deep, that those things are not only not necessary, but potential impediments to our being truly free.
what am i doing that all men and women might be free? anything?
what if god is like marcellus wallace in pulp fiction, who says to butch the boxer, "The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps."

i washed my truck saturday. made it all pretty and shiny and clean and laid it out there before the universe. "here's my truck" i said to god, although i was really talking about my life and my personal wishes. "do with it what you can. lemme help you." it was hard. but it was healing.
i try to do that with my heart, my time, my intentions, my willingness to serve. "but i just got this after all this time of wanting it so bad!" i think to myself - and then i remember: jesus said the only way to deep happiness and freedom is to let allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll that shit go.

12 comments:

Mike said...

Of course, God gave you the truck, just like all the other stuff. It may be that you with a truck is better for God than you without a truck. The question is whether using the truck for God is really just a rationalization -- whether you shining up your truck is worshipping an idol, or just showing your love and appreciation to God for a blessing.

journeyingrick said...

BINGO!!!!

nonprofitprophet said...

Hey. Yes the man truck! I am so glad you are still enjoying it. You know it is a great metaphor for life... its been around, beat up, wrecked, put back together, and doing its best to be in good service... it brings you and others pleasure and satisfaction. It is not extravegant and serves a useful purpose. not too mention you look real manly in it! And of course, being a prophet, I knew you were destined for each other.
Blessings ~npp

journeyingrick said...

WORD!!! and I LOOK GOOD IN IT!!!

MizAngie said...

Is this another argument for keeping Church and State separate? I mean, in a capitalistic state we're taught to work hard for "things" - but Jesus wants us to help one another and provide for the neediest among us. So, I need to buy things to keep the economy going, but I should just buy them for others instead of myself. Hmmm... This does NOT work with my selfish outlook on life.

Get rid of your man-truck? Dude, you might as well cut off your own balls.

journeyingrick said...

here's the beauty: if i'm willing to let it go, i don't have to.
KEEPIN' THEM BALLS BABY!

Meris said...

Holy crap... I needed this today... I mean REALLY NEEDED this. Thank you. I realized over the last few days there are a lot of things I need to let go of, both tangible and intangible... It's kinda liberating, even if it is all kinds of scary at first.

Chiron' said...

Dude: God would never mess with a Man's horse. What the hell are you ON about? ; )

journeyingrick said...

god doesn't want the man-truck ... god wants me not to be so attached to the man-truck that i become enslaved ... just like money, or power, or grudges, or plans, or job, or relationship ...

god likes my truck. She thinks i look great in it!

papa? said...

You keep that truck honey. And yes, you do look good in it; especially, when I catch you singing to some goofy song on the radio. And I love it when we connect there. But please be a little more forgiving of your fellow drivers on Mopac.

journeyingrick said...

please don't hold it against me about my driving on mopac - i'm just trying to get somewhere. but i never flip people off or get mad if they're trying to get somewhere too. drive and let drive, i always say.

David said...

The lesson you are wrestling with, it is one that has been hounding me for weeks. I have to thank you for taking the time to post about it here. A group of us have been reading Consumed, by Benjamin Barber, and just looking closely at how the powers that want to enslave us (by transforming us from citizens into consumers) benefit when I play into their hands has added a very real ideal of enslavement to the struggle I have been feeling. How are we to live as real Christ-followers in this empire? One at a time! Thanks, again, Rick.