My self flagellation seems to have come to an end for now. Freud used to say that bad dreams were occasioned by masochism. So, we voluntarily punish ourselves when we think we deserve it. Conscience is a strange and disposable thing. I wonder what I did wrong that I should flog myself with painful thoughts? But guilt is only a perception. It could be that I felt bad for not wanting to work a regular job. I emailed Dominic about this yesterday morning, but he was actually quite cheerful to hear from me. Apparently no regrets on his side, thus I should let myself off the hook. And he must be aware of how I love my music. The guilty conscience comes from experience with my family, especially my brother, who said openly that music is no way to make a living. On the other hand, there was my mother, who always encouraged me to use my gifts. Also there’s the church, which understands that different people have different abilities and different vocations. My brother doesn’t acknowledge any other aptitude than math and science, unfortunately. He has a big blind spot for the arts. I feel bitterly towards him for being so obtuse. The one whose opinion counts after all is me. And I have a lot of other support now that I don’t speak with my brother anymore. I realize that I will never get the approval I need from my brother, so from now on I have to just forget about it. Joseph Campbell said follow your bliss, and since I have but one life to live, I choose to do what I was born to do.
Eight twenty five.
I’ve slipped out of my delusions and back to reality for the moment. I will remember to take my choir binder with me to church, as we are having practice after service. It’s good to be a little organized. The sun is out again. All things considered, I’m still pretty fortunate to have the life and the friends I have. Schizophrenia is a pain in the butt, yet I don’t have the delusions all the time. In solitude is when they are the worst. I hear some avian life chirping outside. The sun has brought out the perching birds. I’m trying not to magnify reading to the assembly today. It’s not as stressful as the appointment with Dominic I had Wednesday. Church is a sanctuary, a safe place. I hear a mourning dove. The birds are being very musical this morning. In about ten minutes I have to leave. I would call to mind memories of Kate and of Aesop as a puppy, but I wonder what for? That was a time when I drank heavily, and besides, I never met Kate in person. It was all a fantasy.
Noon hour. Church went fine, and Doug was grateful that I read in his place. I feel really beat now, worn out from insomnia and walking everywhere. But at least the social life I have today is real. In about twenty minutes I’ll go to the store for food. I hadn’t realized how much Doug hates to be the lector until this week. I got a lot of praise for reading today. His mother passed away eight weeks ago and the funeral was yesterday. I’ve always liked Doug, so I didn’t mind doing him a favor. Now I can relax for the rest of the day… I don’t feel delusional anymore since church. Eduardo and Tori did a great duet for a postlude, a piece by Gabriel Faure that was vaguely familiar. Beautiful modern chords, a little strange. Lisa looked lovely today, but then she just is lovely. I missed seeing Sandi this morning. But it was nice to see everyone else. The sun is still out, though it’s supposed to rain again later this afternoon. I’m pretty equal with everything now. Worry free for the remainder of the day.
Pastor Dan knows the way I think, probably. In his sermon today, he said it was no secret that religion is declining in North America. It makes me feel like a part of history in the making, just sitting in my pew listening to a sermon. We are all the constituents of a historical process going on around and through us. That sounds Hegelian, possibly, but even Hegel isn’t here to see his theories in action. They are larger than he himself was. Do people make history or does history make us? I feel like a responsible agent, right enough, yet I don’t realize my motives. Before I knew it, I was asking Sandi out to ice cream. It seems not to be premeditated, but just an eventuality, or even more spontaneous than that. I have no idea why I do what I’m doing. The church still accepts me as part of the family. But I am a barometer of the times just like they are. Religion is going downhill in the West, and I’m witnessing it happen. Pastor’s sermon this morning was very revealing. I felt like I was aboard a ship lost at sea. A ship of fools maybe, and I’m the one who jumps overboard now and then. Yet perhaps to a lesser extent, the whole assembly feels what I feel. How seaworthy is our ship? Is it leaky? And am I the first one on the dinghy before the ship sinks?
One ten. The sermon today was about evangelism. Pastor asked the assembly what words we associated with it, and I said “force.” He liked the relevance of this to his sermon. He said that many in the congregation had never experienced evangelism, so maybe they wouldn’t understand. So he went on to define what evangelism is, or what it should be. Our pastor is a smart guy, thankfully. He has a lot of erudition and is powerful with words. Though I feel a little on the fringe of the group, they still accept me as part of the family. I know they won’t pick up stones to hurl at me or anything if I openly express doubts about religion. I’ve done it already on a few occasions, and it merely made them think a little harder. All in all it’s a very healthy mental environment for everyone involved. I really like Our Redeemer for a place to go and share with intelligent people. Service today went especially well, I thought. And it’s a beautiful sunny day today.
Quarter of five. I felt very tempted to drink earlier today but rode it out. Something triggered me, cued me to times in a specific past. I think it was the color of the sky this morning, a luminous gray, making me believe it was 2017 again. I was so unwell back then, and also flat broke. I never had any money to spare. My addiction burned a hole right through my pocket. I really was a different person before I quit drinking. The daylight is dying down outside, gray fading to black gradually. The day turned around when I sat down to play my bass. I just emailed Mark regarding a future jam. We’ll see what he says. I feel more up with the present again. A little bit hungry. Aesop was good today while Damien and Todd worked on my trees. I’m glad for the nightfall; daytime feels oppressive sometimes, as if the sun were a judge in the sky, hammering verdicts with his gavel. Church tomorrow should be good. I ought to tithe something, but I’m nervous about my bank account. We’re supposed to turn in our pledge forms tomorrow. I hope I remember. It’s twilight outside now. Twilight time reminds me of The Moody Blues, in turn of when I used to work a job at Laurel Hill. I don’t think I could work another job like that one again. Nobody cared about my opinion when I was 37 years old. The street hires didn’t give a damn about the participants. We were looked down on as inferior… Jet black night. Dreams are forgotten, but my mood is better. I’d like to find my copy of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Peter Gabriel’s last album with Genesis. Probably it was their best album, though I think I like Selling England by the Pound better. This afternoon I picked out a few bass lines from old King Crimson. I had fun with “The Great Deceiver” and “One More Red Nightmare.” When I was done, I looked out the window: nothing had changed on my street. Roger was puttering about with his 77 Ford as usual. The overcast was a sheet of gray, no longer luminous, but the light dying down… on Broadway…
Quarter of one. Church went fine. The holiday hullabaloo is over with, so the pressure is off of me. Sheryl gave me a hug at sharing the peace. She was happy to see me again. I stayed after for choir practice, and that went well. Doug also gave me hugs. Darold gave me his phone number in case I wanted a ride to church. Everyone was very nice and understanding about December being a rough month for me. Sue said they missed me at the food pantry yesterday. Cathy had baked me a pumpkin bread. I made the coffee for fellowship hour this morning, and taught Tom how to do it. Somebody brought German chocolate cake. Pastor was waiting in his office for me when I arrived. I walked in drenched from the rain on my walk to church. My shoes were soaked and my umbrella had to be hung up to dry. But I made it. Pastor and I talked a little about Neil Peart. He hadn’t realized the tragedies the rockstar had been through. I said that was what “One Little Victory” had been about: the band reuniting in 2002 and getting another chance to score… So I had a good Sunday morning, and everybody was quite happy. I walked home with the rain having abated a bit, and now, safe at home, it commences to pour. Aesop is overjoyed to see me again. Time to relax now and read a book.
I know I won’t drink again, but I’m still going through a lot of pain. There never seems to be a break in the monotonous chaos. Three o’clock. Partly what’s wrong is I’ve lost my faith that everything works out okay. This kind of faith is very important for getting through life. I shouldn’t have reread about Quentin’s suicide in The Sound and the Fury. It made a deep impact on me, so now I have to repair the damage. The book is beautifully written but the message is nihilistic until you get to the final section. Gloom and doom are not for me. Optimism is the way to go. Where did I learn the Panglossian stuff? From church and from Suzanne, I think. And Shakespeare wanted to believe in comic endings where everything turns out well. My mother was a pessimist and this impeded her from going anywhere. She had no faith in happy endings. Joe is finished with the mantle, mostly. It looks nice. I’m feeling better now since I identified the cause of my depression. Faulkner was toxic to my wellbeing, and that made me want to drink again. Maybe things really do turn out for the best. This was the best therapy I could’ve learned.