I have been a Christian since accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior in my youth at roughly the age of 5. I haven’t regularly attended church in years and the last church service I attended was in November of 2011.
The reason I don’t attend church at the present is quite simple. I am actually holding on to one of my core beliefs by not attending church. I believe that for a Christian there is no place you should want to be or enjoy being at more than church. If you don’t want to be there, don’t enjoy yourself or view it as a chore then you’re better off not going. You’re not going to earn extra heaven points by going to church and having a miserable time.
Obviously, not everyone feels the same way I do on this particular issue. I have a friend who goes to church regularly. He never has fun, doesn’t really get anything out of being there, sometimes engages in other activities during the sermons to keep from falling asleep and has been very critical of a lot that goes on in his church. Yet unlike me, he still goes and I respect the fact that he does even if it sounds to me like he’d be a lot happier if he took himself out of it.
Why exactly am I writing about this right now? At the end of yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I already had my topic picked out for today’s post and this is it.
I am not going to suggest that you should just stop doing everything that feels like a chore. Some things in life are supposed to feel like chores because that’s exactly what they are and they must be done. However, I am saying that if something you love and something that didn’t previously feel like a chore and should not feel like one starts to become one, then you might do well to walk away for awhile.
My church experience is merely one example. For the record, I have never ruled out going back and there is a strong likelyhood that I will at some point perhaps even in the near future. However, it has to be because it is what I want and not because I feel obligated or like I must please someone else by being in attendance. If I go in with a bad attitude, I might rain on the parade of someone who is there with a good attitude and that is hardly fair to them.
However, there are other areas in my life where I have put this belief system into practice. I used to love to write about MMA, Boxing and Pro Wrestling. Then it started to feel like work. I kept doing it for awhile after the fact and I think that ended up causing me problems in other ways. The same was true with podcasting. I loved podcasting with my firends back in the day. Then one day it felt more like work than fun. I associate work and chores with stress and I don’t want to be stressed out by the act of talking to my friends.
It is also why I haven’t written a book review in several months. I started to feel like they weren’t fun anymore. I didn’t let it get as far as some of the other things that I’ve mentioned before walking away and that’s why I’m pretty confident that I will do them again soon. Still, I needed a break. I like writing reviews but I think it hurt my reading because I didn’t feel like writing a review of every book I read so I slowed down my reading so I had fewer to write.
I enjoy writing in general. I enjoy writing on this blog. It doesn’t feel like work which is saying a lot because of how negative my attitude is as of late. I actually believe that writing this blog is helping me a lot but it might not seem like it to outsiders because I have such a long way to go. However, if this begins to feel like a burden then I will cut back, you have my word.
Now we arrive at the reason I have shared all of this with you. I have realized over the last couple of days that human interaction is something I currently view as a chore. This realization hit me rather suddenly. I was thinking about the difference between the bad days I’ve had since Ginny died and the horrible ones.
I realized that the best days I’ve had since she passed away are the ones in which I didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t have any company and was basically by myself.
I don’t mean to suggest that my interaction with others has been bad. I enjoyed going out with my aunt and uncle on Tuesday. I had a nice chat with my rehab counsellor on Monday and even a bit of fun at the grocery store with a friend after that. I even have had a couple of Skype conversations that have made me smile for a bit. However, after each of those moments I felt some relief that they had come to an end. That says quite a lot since the list of people I would rather spend time with than my uncle Jim is smaller than the number of fingers on a human hand.
It’s funny because I’ve always considered myself to be a social creature. I have always said that I am not wired for a lifetime of being single My heart’s desire is to be paired off with a romantic partner. However, it sure doesn’t seem like that is true given my feelings as of late.
I’m sort of glad to be going through all of this while being single. Sure, if I were already married things would be different. I couldn’t just sit and sulk quietly in the corner for long stretches of time. I would have to hold it together better than I am now for the sake of my partner and her needs.
Although, if I were already married the situation wouldn’t be exactly the same as the one I am facing now. Hopefully, my wife would be as much of an anchor or more than Ginny was when she passed. And even if I had relied on them both, losing Ginny would just mean I’d have to rely on the other more. So saying that I would act this way or that way would be speculation at best since conditions would be drastically different.
The thing is that I don’t want to view interacting with others as work. I like talking to people. I like going places and I like doing things. I don’t want to be a party pooper and have kept my distance from others to avoid that very thing. Unfortunately, I feel like this is something that could very easily become a long-term habit if I am not careful.
I’ve always liked to have some degree of private time. I use alone time to process things that have happened to me or that could happen to me in the future. It is just that now I’m finding more difficulty in pulling myself out of that and putting myself in position to be around others.
How bad has it gotten? I have taken to getting my mail late at night because it reduces the chances that I will run into one of my neighbors. I actually like some of my neighbors, the one across the hall is a great guy but I still don’t want to talk. In the case of my neighbors I’m worried that the subject of Ginny might come up and I just would prefer that it not.
The desire to not be around people is a large reason for why I deactivated my Facebook page which is the subject of my previous post.
The obvious solution is to interact with people more often even if I don’t want to do so. The problem is that I don’t want to and I’m not really inclined these days to do stuff that I don’t want to do. It will change eventually if only because it has to change. It is one thing to not go to a certain place like a church but it is something else entirely to avoid everyone on earth.
Ultimately what it comes down to is this. If I don’t interact with people on a frequent bases, the fewer chances I have to treat someone poorly who doesn’t deserve it. The fewer opportunities I take to interact with someone else the fewer chances there are for them to unintentionally annoy me. The fewer interactions I have the fewer times I let people see me at my worst. The less contact I have with others the less I can let them down, disappoint them or taint them with my negativity.
I don’t feel like my time spent interacting with others is all that productive. I also think to the extent that it is unproductive, it is pretty much because of me. Lots of people have been and will continue to be patient with me. I think I’m actually holding up my end of the bargain by keeping away from them instead of potentially being short or extra sarcastic with them or just a general downer.
Incidentally, the guys behind the Freakonomics book series which I have reviewed have actually discussed my belief in the importance of quitting although I didn’t know it at the time. You can read their commentary by clicking here. There is a podcast on the subject which you can find here or view below.