2014-08-27 - Two Faces
Last Summer, I attempted to write about how who I am, is really in there somewhere. I never felt like the piece really worked, in the sense that it didn't properly express what I had on my mind, so I am trying it again. What often comes into my head, when this notion hits me, is a song Bruce Springsteen released in 1987 on his record "Tunnel of Love." The song is titled the same as this article. I connected to this song immediately, as it spoke about a guy who seemed tortured by the fact he would be in a place emotionally, that he sometimes didn't recognize himself. He would behave one minute, as how he knew himself and then the next minute, he didn't have any idea what was going on. Last week, after the untimely death of Robin Williams, I again thought more about this idea. We somehow believe the tortured person is always someone else, as we judge their actions in a way that often is only to relieve ourselves of the possibility that it could ever be us, on any given day.
I don't know about you, but I often find myself wondering who it is that is saying or doing a certain thing, when it turns out it really is me. And I am no better than the Apostle Paul who described himself in the very same manner. I ought to do this or that, and still I choose the thing I should avoid. (Romans 7:15-20) I used to hear this saying when I was growing up: "We're all a few payments away from being homeless. (paraphrased)." After my Aunt committed suicide, it occurred to me that we're all a bad day away from being in that place someone is when they think they only option is ending it all (basically, not literally, as it would likely not just be one bad day!!). There are so many stories and situations others live with, and that we live with, and aren't seen or heard by anyone, for many reasons. We want to overcome and leave our flaws behind us. We prefer that others see who we are on our best days, due to the fact that is the part of life on Earth we enjoy the most. It's natural to want to be positive and encouraging, and not dwell on the past.
The problem is, without balance, we can be the negative person no one wants to be around, or the life of the party that appears to have no problems at all and so in each scenario, we are lonely. The point of Paul's explaining himself as imperfect, was to let us know that he understood our dilemma of wanting to make good choices, yet always battling with the flesh to do it. We have to face the fact that even when we desire to follow God with all we say and do, that we will struggle with the natural evil inclination that lives within this natural body. "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." (Romans 7:25)
The end of the Bruce Springsteen song "Two Faces" leaves us with this idea: fighting to do what's right, and to keep trying in the midst of that evil inclination, reminding him of the fact the tendency will always remain. I find it encouraging because I think at times we all can relate to having "two faces". So when you have this voice whispering in your ear telling you you're no good, you're wasting your time trying, it will never be different, there's no point, remember those things will always come against you. But you, like Bruce, can say " go ahead and let 'em try!" as you keep moving forward, with the strength God gives you to do it all, even better tomorrow.
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.