Necessary Endings: Severing that which Binds

I am pursuing decathexis. I want the restoration of time and energy and life that comes from purposefully breaking off a pattern or a mindset that binds me, and keeps me away from nurturing my life. In this time of increased turmoil, I find myself bombarded by daily negative energy and news – declarations that hurt those I love, declarations that harm me. It is good, it is necessary, to face the world. But I cannot let this world harm the seeds I aim to sow.

Let me tell you a few stories of necessary endings.

The first is of a man. Coming back to the Bay had been a struggle in one regard – it was still the city that someone I had loved and still loved live in. Things had not ended well, but like all of the best/worst love stories, there will still the intricate vines of love that grafted a bond around us. This is a story that has always been messy, with roots that are deep and gnarled. And every time that it is necessary to walk away, the path leads circular back to a start. I want to find love, but love cannot find its way to hearts that have been rented out by guests that have no intentions of staying. I had a close friend in Ghana who once told me that God cannot share with you someone worthwhile for your life while your heart is cluttered with scraps of the past. I often go back to those words, but it was not until recently that I had made a more decisive decision that recognized that there are many people who one will encounter in their lives who want nothing more than to take and take and take from the wealth of care you will give them. They appear when they need that comfort, and then disappear when they are once again on their feet. But if I am to nurture new beginnings in my life, if I am to fall back in love with myself before anyone else, it will take severing such ties from my life.

And while this is the story of one particular man, it rings true of other relationships in my life. Over the last year, I have become acutely aware of those who will masquerade as friends and allies (a term I despise because it comes with little to no real action or change), who have been quick lately to show their true intentions. They want cookies, rather than to understand how the batter is baked. They deny and hide their eyes from the truths that can only be told by the canaries in the mine – those who see destruction coming long before it hits home. Now is the time to step away from spending any time trying to bargain my humanity with others, but rather to invest that time in building community that is necessary to sustain and thrive.

The second story is of the voice of despair. In church on Sunday Pastor Tanisha talked about banishing the voice and taunts of the devil from our lives. That voice that tells us all the things we aren’t going to do or be, and that tries to destroy our promises in life. I feel in the midst of an ocean, having left the shore but not seeing the other side of the land I am trying to get to, as Donald Miller describes it. Miller describes this as the time that we blame ourselves, others, and despair in the midst of not being able to turn back, but not knowing where we are going. When I feel like nothing is going quite right in my life in any area of my life, I hear that voice of despair, the voice of ‘never’ instead of ‘not yet.’ In the loud distractions of life, piecing out the voice of oneself, God, and the devil can be hard.

But Pastor Tanisha reminded us that everything the devil says is a lie – he is, after all, the Father of Lies. The energy spent overcoming the voice of despair need not be so burdensome. The answer is to allow God’s truth and promises and way in my life. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And ye tit is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability–and that it may take a very long time.” By dwelling in the place of faith, the place of confidence in battles already won, I can severe the ties that bind me to the voice of despair and tethers me to the buoy of hope that is born of action. Now is the time to praise even in the midst of despair. To celebrate in anticipation of a victory.

I am, finally, back on a road that although filled with potholes, I see a course ahead. I am deep into projects again that excite me, and I find myself moving from decathexis to cathexis.


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