Saturday, October 16, 2010

Playing Pretend

On Wednesday, it was "International Suit Up Day". It came from Facebook, so I knew it was a legitimate holiday. Of course, any excuse for me wearing a suit is good enough and so I did my business that day in my suit. I felt very official and purposeful as I walked around in it. I felt it created a nice illusion of importance and direction.

It kind of did not work though when I headed to the local bank to set up an account. As I proceeded into the office and sat down with the lady (I don't know the official name of an account setter-upper) I realized how uncomfortable I was. I was fidgeting and moving around trying to find the proper sitting position so that way I looked comfortable and was clearly a man who was in control. Instead I felt more like a little kid who borrowed a suit that belonged to his dad and it was way too big for him. It was like I was playing pretend. Which I guess I was.

When I went to youth group that night (still in the suit) people often assumed that I must have had an important interview earlier that day. Nope. No, I didn't. I was just wearing a suit. I was faking. I helped out another fellow with the junior high boys group. In a lot of ways, it was like I playing pretend in there too. The guys were just excited to be there hanging out with their friends and not at all interested about discussing deeper matters. I can completely understand. A typical junior high boy who is put in the same room as their friends, they are there to mess around. There's no focus except for the focus on trying to find something to laugh at. Questions asked were given enough attention so to start a sentence before something hilarious was found to laugh at. It was hard. I didn't want to be there for an hour and a half and hammer through all the theological questions they may have had and explore the great struggle that is faith. However I didn't want to be there for an hour and a half and not be able to get any reflection. Yet, I couldn't resolve that then. I needed more time to be able to accommodate teaching to their headspace. I wasn't leading, but I was trying to help. I was a little frustrated because at least at that point, I had and have no idea how to be able to bring these guys to a place of reflection without making it seem like I am trying to punish them for being excited and wanting to mess around with their friends.

I kind of felt like I was just wearing a suit.

Last night, I wanted to try and take in some of the art scene of Nelson and went to a show at the Royal where Jen Lane was playing. I was amazed at the quality of sound from a bar stage. Usually, I expect for the mix to be off and sound "live", but somehow it sounded like album quality and you could appreciate the disciplined nuances to her voice. I can not really describe what I mean by that, but just know it sounded good. Anyway, as I was sitting there by myself taking in the show, I figured I needed to start reaching out to some of the people here in the town. I walked over to another table with a lone guy and introduced myself. We had a quick chat before the final set and after the show continued in our discussion. We talked about why I believed in Christianity, what does it mean to follow Jesus, Buddhist teachings, and pursuing a better life. An hour and a half past and I found myself outside the bar at 2:30am and realized I wanted to sleep. I also realized how far away I am in my spiritual perspective from the relativistic and universalist drug culture of this place. By the way, I know that not everyone is like that here and also that people like that exist back in Manitoba, but I was thinking how it was almost like I here talking to a people of a foreign culture to mine and that I am trying to connect to something I can't fully understand. Like I was just wearing a suit.

I am not as social as people assume I am especially in this place even though there are many people my age here. It feels like there is a lot of expectation from the people here and from myself that I am going to be the all-star here and as I'm facing it down, I am starting to get that feeling in my gut that I haven't felt since the early days of doing plays in high school. I have this nervous excitement that knows that this could be awesome and I could do big things and have the confidence that I have the ability to do it, but also have the lingering anxiety of how it could all fall apart if I forget a line.

I think if I can learn something from my many years of performing and perhaps I can take comfort in, is that I am really good at faking knowing what I am doing up there. All I need to do is find a way to look comfortable wearing my suit.

"All in the suit that you wear
When you're looking for something
It's in the suit that you wear
When you're hiding from someone
All in the suit that you wear
When you wear it
Hey you, you keep a-walking the razor
On the edge, you cut your feet when you stand in there
In the meantime, there's always someone to set you free
Hey you, will you ever get out of there?"
- "All in the Suit that You Wear" from the Stone Temple Pilot album "Thank You"

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