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My Permission

I don’t know how to say what I want to say here, but I’m feeling like writing will help me to process. I feel like I’m at an emotional crossroads. I’m worried about remaining stuck. I want someone to give me permission to be happy, but I realize that that is not anything that anyone can give me.

I wonder sometimes if people think that I don’t understand the consequences of my actions. Even those close to me sometimes intimate that I am damaged goods, damaged beyond repair. Maybe they just feel it is too soon for me to be put back together. Trust me, I’m not all together. Not by a long shot.

But I can’t keep beating myself up. I can’t feel guilty all the time. At some point, if I’m going to live an actual, fully functional human life, I have to be able to move forward. The problem is that I keep looking for external things that will allow me to move ahead. I look for it from friends and family. I look for it from those I’ve hurt. I look for it from the church. It’s the same search for external affirmation that lead me into this mess in the first place.

I feel like I’m supposed to keep saying “I’m sorry”. Well, I am. I am deeply sorry. The problem is that for some people, no amount of saying or showing remorse will be enough. There is no apology great enough.

Of course, this could also be in my head. There’s a very real possibility that I’m driving myself crazy thinking about my sins and I really am the only one thinking about them. I don’t think that’s true, but I have to leave room for my neurosis.

I guess I’m just tired. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not allowed to be happy. I’m tired of feeling like I should perpetually feel guilt and shame. I’m tired of feeling like I am irredeemable.

I’m tired of it… because when I look in the mirror, that’s not what I see. I see a man; older, wiser, fatter yet somehow lighter. I see someone who has known deep loss and deep heartache. I see someone who has made mistakes but is more than the sum of his errors. I see someone who is capable of great love, great humor, and great insight. I see a beautiful smile and bright eyes. I see someone that, if I were meeting them for the first time on the street, I would want them to be happy.

I want to be happy. I want it the way that everyone does. I deeply believe that every human wants happiness. Most of our searches for said happiness go astray because we live in a world that capitalizes off of our unhappiness, but deep down we all desire to be happy. I want happiness for those I love and for the first time in a long time, I am one of my loved ones.

I went looking for happiness once. I thought I would find it outside of myself. I thought I had attained it, but it was fleeting because what I was searching for cannot be given. It is something we have, God-given, the delight of being made in the Divine image. The joy of being able to love, give, share, touch, create, laugh, cry, and feel. It is the true well of happiness that we so often stop up or seek others to unleash in ourselves, but only we can get it flowing.

I feel like I want to ask for permission to be happy again…

Derrick, I give you permission to be happy.

About derricklweston

Father of two. I co-host God Complex Radio, a show highlighting progressive voices in the faith community. (godcomplexradio.com) I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. I like lots of stuff. Sometimes I write about that stuff.


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