Sunday, September 12, 2010

why I didn't show up

this is a short tale about hubris. I don't think of myself as hubristic, of course, but I don't think any of us do and if it were the case that we are what we think we are we'd all be wonderful all the time.

I was supposed to start my internship yesterday. I've been looking forward to this for months. it took time to get the internship set up--like several other students from my seminary, I'd had another set earlier, but at the last minute the churches we were contracting with opted not to pay $2000 for 9 months of internship--and then this one opened up and was a good fit but it took months to arrange everything.

finally, today was the day we were to start and I left extra early in order to be there in plenty of time. my intern church is pretty close to the hub while I live on the rim, so it's an hour drive. but I made it to the area in plenty of time. except I never made it.
here's where the hubris sets in. I've been to the church for 3 meetings so I was pretty certain I knew how to get there. somehow I convinced myself it was off of one freeway rather than another, and by the time I'd worked out which interstate I needed to be on, the service was nearly over. I ended up in shakopee at one point, miles away from where I needed to be, and by the time I found myself the second time in apple valley, even farther away, it was long after the service would have ended. I headed home dejected and defeated.

here is the part that embarrasses me. when I realized I didn't know which direction to go and nothing looked familiar, I panicked. I rarely panic and when I do I panic totally. I have a strong self-destructive streak that flares up on occasion and explains if not excuses my past with alcohol and drugs and sex and such; in the past few decades as I've gotten a better handle on it I've started to bite myself when this happens, maybe on the pretext of reminding myself to be in the moment and to grab hold. that's a benign way of reading my behavior. I may also be just punishing myself further. I didn't bite myself this time but I did put my hand in my mouth 2 or 3 times.

my wife suggests I may be undergoing some self-destructive behavior again as it's all a part of other behavior relating to this internship--not fully reading emails, ignoring phone calls, assuming someone else has done whatever task needs doing. that may be true. there is always a little voice at the back of my head telling me I'm too happy, too settled for someone like me, and in the past I've done things that force me out of jobs, relationships and living situations. I'm not convinced that's what's going on here--after all, I may be overreacting to forgetting how to get someplace I'd been before, like suddenly forgetting how to get to the new store in the area--but I'm also open to the possibility this lurking uncertainty will require more attention than I've given it.

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