I am NOT an object.

People on the bus are so accustomed to ringing that little stupid bell to request a stop that they do it automatically. Oh, it’s a great way to communicate to the bus driver when the bus is packed and you want the next stop. Personally, as the driver, I really don’t like it when the bus is empty or nearly empty and it rings. People may be standing right next to me and they still ring the stupid bell. They do it automatically even when can talk directly to me. That, is a pet peeve of mine. When that happens, in my head I scream, “HEY…I’m right her, TEN FEET away…! TALK to me, I’m not an OBJECT, I’m not a MACHINE!”

I learned from the Ted Robert’s book about objectification. Objectification teaches us to turn ourselves and others into objects; its one of the first consequences or casualties of sexual addiction. I have had to learn over the past five years of recovery to connect. I feel so alive, so accepted, and so complete when I share deeply. I don’t want to reverse that trend.

I don’t blame people for not engaging a complete stranger, particularly, on the bus. I just don’t like it, I feel like an object.

Keeping It Real.

I am surprised at the reactions of some of my Pastors. Through this journey of recovery, I am learning to live in reality. To me, this means, breaking out of denial, being in touch with my feelings and expressing these feelings. I have had to learn, where and when it is appropriate to do so. I served for a while as an usher/greeter at church. Sunday mornings greeting people may or may not be the appropriate time to express myself.

I have expressed my self frankly to some of my pastors, sometimes, even on Sunday mornings. I have been asked, more than once, “How are you?” by a pastor. If I was having a bad day, I have responded…”not good, so-so, or struggling”. Remember, I am practicing “being real”. The responses have been pretty similar; it’s usually been a look of surprise. I try not to react to there responses, but it tells me they were expecting me to come up with a “Christian Jingo” (i.e.: Praise The Lord) .

What this tells me is this, in my effort to be healthy and practice recovery; I am working against the grain, even in the Christian culture. I can expect this and I need to persevere anyhow. My ultimate goal is to be a healthy man on the road to complete recovery.

Ever have someone Talk AT You?

I drive a bus, on a part-time basis in the City of Chicago. On Friday, I received a lay-off notice from The Chicago Transit Authority

Later that same day, I ran into a man, a fellow bus driver, in the CTA garage. We engaged in small talk and the conversation turned to the lay-off notice I received in the mail earlier in that day. I told him that it was on my mind (I kept my upset feelings to myself).

He told me that I simply needed to disregard the letter. He proceeded to “talk at me”.

Ever have someone “talk at you”? He may have been well intended and even sincere, but he was preaching at me and was nearly angry as he spoke. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but I really sensed this. He spoke AT me and interrupted me. He offered me very little help that I could apply and did not take any time to understand where I was coming from.

Jesus, for whom Christianity is named, when he encountered people, he began where they were. Jesus did this by engaging in conversation, give and take, back and forth communications.

The greater point is this; I need to know what I believe and what I need. I believe in Jesus, in His Sovereignty and in His sufficiency. I know He is sufficient to meet all my needs, which include my emotional needs. I do not deny my feelings, I know that the letter upset me and rightfully so. It was upsetting news. I also have learned about myself and that my feelings are my feelings and that if I deny my feelings (which is what he was encouraging me to do), my feelings will come out in unhealthy and unconstructive way. As a younger person, I learned to deny stuff and run away from my feelings. I was taught that I needed not to be governed by my feelings and I agree with that premise. What I disagree with is how to do this. I need to take my feelings, in this case, my upset feelings over the letter and bring those to the Lord and allow him to minister to me. He did, in this case; He has done it before for me and I believe He will do it for me again.

I believe this is Biblical and I know this is the best way to deal with my feelings. (Ps 4:4, Rev 21:4, 1Pet 5: 7, Mt 11:28,29.