Issues

I’m on holidays right now. Originally we planned to be in the States visiting family and taking a longer than usual holiday. Last summer our holidays were derailed by the illness of a family member. This summer plans were derailed by my own illness. And while I’m getting better in some ways I’m also becoming aware that I’ve got some issues.

One of the doctors I’ve seen recently asked me if I had a stressful job. To be honest, 3 doctors I’ve seen recently asked me that question. The first doctor who asked was answered, “Not really.” A week into my holiday/rest time and I can now safely say that was not true. I’m realizing that I’ve moved the bar for “normal” so far that I’ve failed to see the obvious. Denial is a powerful thing.

I’m writing this now, in part, because of a dream I just woke up from.

Supposedly, or at least I’ve heard and read that we only dream briefly in the seconds before we wake up. I’ve been told that our dreams aren’t really long but are actually brief and come in bursts that only seem like long, full experiences. I’ve got no evidence other than my own experience and my own experience tells me that’s just not so. The dream I just woke up from seemed to stretch on for the better part of the night.

In my dream I was living right where I am, doing what I do, only slight changes to my real world geography inside the dreamscape. The key change to my dream was that rather than working a job I was working 3 jobs. I was doing my main gig plus two part-time jobs that were really full-time in expectation. I ultimately woke up when, in the midst of my dream, I realized that I’d missed a very important appointment with one of my part-time jobs because I forgot what night I was on as I ran to pick up one of my kids from a sports program and prep for the next day of work at my other part-time job. Too late I realized I was supposed to be at a special event and meeting with my other part-time job. In my dream I was just about to face one of my bosses to try to explain myself and hopefully keep the job.

Two things. One, I wasn’t working 3 jobs in my dream to get rich or because of the money. I was working to work. Second, I woke up literally distraught over the situation, chastising myself for missing the appointment and though now awake and realizing it was a dream I was completely stressed out over it. I was upset with myself that I could be that irresponsible even in a dream.

I’ve got issues.

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About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Confession, denial, dream, Life, Meaning, perception, Rambling, reality, truth. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Issues

  1. njm says:

    We all have our issues.. Do you really know even one person who doesn’t have issues of one kind or the other? We all need to stop sweating the small stuff and kick back and enjoy life. So, how do we do that? I’m working on it.

  2. Don Rousu says:

    Hello Brian,

    This particular entry makes me really uncomfortable, because I identify with it so strongly. Work really is an addiction. An addiction is an addiction is an addiction. And the adrenaline masks some kind of pain, attached to some lie we believe about ourselves.

    I had a seminary classmate who went on sabbatical after his first six and a half years of ministry. He resigned his post, and took a job as a caretaker at a Church Camp. He and his wife came to visit us at the end of that year of sabbatical. I asked him what he learned during his sabbatical. He replied, “I learned that the ministry is very stressful.”

    And I said to him, “You needed a sabbatical to learn that? What else did you learn?”

    He smiled and said, “I also learned that 85% of my stress was self-imposed.”

    I looked down at the ground and said quietly, “It sounds like your time off was definitely worth it.” I heard what he said, but I still had to learn the lesson myself, the hard way. I’m still at it . . .

    Too bad for you, but it’s nice to have company on the journey!

  3. greggmac says:

    I have done many things in life; some of them extremely stressful. Indeed the job I have now can be quite stressful. However the most stressful ting in life is constantly dealing with other people’s dysfunctions coupled with their expectation/belief that you can somehow make “it” better. Of course your job is stressful. Just a thought.

  4. Judy says:

    Everyone’s addicted to something. One guy I know paraphrases that by saying “Everyone’s broken.”

    My own particular brand of addiction is “fixing” people. It took me some 40 years to realize that not only did it usually backfire but it also made me all bound up in anger, frustration, resentment, bitterness and fear – or should I call it terror. Shedding the baggage behind all that was something I didn’t think was possible but … God has a way of doing the impossible – which apparently He’s doing now. I didn’t realize how stressed out I was from my “fixing” lifestyle until I started shedding some of the things that got me there. Gradually the attitudes started to change, and the fixing behaviors started to leave with them…and only then did I realize how little happiness and peace I really had. The first time I noticed it, I was like, “Oh wow – what’s that feeling? uhhhh, I think I’m … happy!? who knew?”

    Then I started realizing just how much my own attitudes had been contributing to the stress I was already feeling, and how I had taken on the overwhelming task of feeling responsible for everyone else’s actions, trying to make excuses for them, or trying to shield them from the consequences of their own actions. Not good. When I learned to let go of that stuff – it’s amazing the energy I found I had wasted on trying to do stuff that wasn’t mine to do.

    By no means have I arrived – I’m still having to learn those same lessons over and over again – I guess that makes me a “practicing Christian.” I’ll practice until I get it right. 😉

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