Do you ever wonder why you are like you are?
I had wonderful parents. Hard working. Integrity by the bucket load.
I had a wonderful childhood. Great bicycles. Great friends.
No abuse, no neglect.
Yet something in me has always felt unworthy.
You might ask, unworthy of what?
I don't even know that. It's a feeling much like guilt, or sadness that is just there. Always has been as far as I can tell.
And I often wonder how I ended up this way.
Writing on this blog has been one of the most cathartic things I have ever done. Not that I have come up with big answers to questions like this by blogging, but thinking about my life and the lives of those who have come through my life had definitely opened more and more of my memory up for review. Putting my life in perspective helps me stay level.
With me so far? Yeah. It doesn't make much sense to me either. It's one of those things where I can think of words that are close, but not perfect to what I'm trying to say. Words fail many times to adequately describe emotions and feelings.
What got me started down this slippery slope is a memory from my childhood.
I was living in Vidalia, Louisiana at the time. I was in the third or fourth grade, which puts me at either 8 or 9.
I rode the bus to school, and was leaving one morning to go out to the bus stop nearest the house.
My Dad asked me if I needed any money, reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change.
I said "no Sir," and walked past him.
He asked me again and I turned around and looked at him. And he had the strangest questioning look on his face. I can see him in my mind's eye so clearly it breaks my heart every time I think of it. I can see now that it surprised him, and made him concerned. What kid doesn't want free money? No strings attached?
Apparently, me as a kid didn't want free money.
I again said "no Sir" and turned and went on out of the house to wait for the bus. I remember thinking at the time that the look on Dad's face was that he was hurt. With an adult's mind I can realize that he was just surprised and concerned.
Ten thousand times over the years I have replayed that scene in my mind and wondered why I didn't take some money from my Dad.
I wasn't in trouble or anything. To him it was just another morning and wanted to give me some money to buy some candy or a Coke at school during recess.
But even that far back, I knew in my heart that I deserved nothing, and could not accept this simple offer of a dollar or two of change for a snack.
Sometimes I feel that, if I could just go back and relive that moment, and know today what I was thinking about at that second, and understand, that it would open up my life right now in wondrous ways. It's the same feeling as having a word you want "on the tip of your tongue" but unable to find it in the end. Only this is that feeling magnified by 100.
If I could understand today, the reason I turned away my Dad's offer of money, that many things in my life would fall into place in my understanding.
I'm sure that doesn't make any sense, and I see that this post is just a world class ramble, but that truly is one of the great questions in my life.
What is it in me that causes me to feel lower than the lowest slug on the ground? And why have I felt this way all of my life?
I'm 44. Am I always going to be like this?
Today at work, I was trying to troubleshoot a digital circuit card that is part of a very custom communication system. This card has an intermittent problem.
Intermittent problems are a nightmare. How can you find what's wrong with something when it works part of the time?
After a while, I realized that the problem seems to be heat related. For instance, I go to lunch and leave the system shut down. Come back from lunch, turn on system, and the circuit card is working, but several minutes later it fails.
I've been tracking the problem down and had narrowed it to several surface mount chips on the circuit card. I get a can of Freeze Spray and blast these parts with super cold air and cool then down. The card starts working again.
So I have a connection on a chip or something that loses contact when the card heats up during use. My worst fear is pretty much confirmed that it is a ball-grid-array on the circuit card. Aw man. Ball grid arrays are a pain to remove and replace. I'll have to send the card to one of the specialists at work that does only that, removing and replacing these parts. It's a time consuming delicate job. And I can only hope it fixes the problem.
What the heck are you talking about with this dumb circuit card?
It's an analogy I want to make. Even with the uncertainty of knowing the exact problem this circuit card has, it's something I can find and fix with tried and true methods. It's an area of life where empirical knowledge is king.
I wish I had the equivalent of a can of Freeze Spray for troubleshooting my emotional life.
Things that can be seen, smelled, tasted, felt, and heard are much easier to troubleshoot and repair than the human spirit.