I have some confessions to make.
I have always wanted to be famous for something. First it was baseball, then it was music, then more recently for writing or perhaps for doing something important in the world. The desire to be famous, to be wanted, or ‘known’, is toxic. It leads to a general dissatisfaction with the way things are. It leads to an ever-increasingly impossible pursuit of manufactured-plastic ways of being known. It spins off into jealousy of others’ successes, which continues the spiral of dissatisfaction with life to the ‘enth degree.
This desire to be ‘known’ is also incredibly shallow. It strips all value from my relationships, which happen to be the only way of ‘being known’ that matters. It says, “Yeah, I get that YOU think I’m great. But you’re my friend. You HAVE to think that. I want EVERYONE ELSE to think I’m great, that I matter”. In saying this, this desire tells my friends that their opinion is worthless to me.
Will you forgive me?
Because, if you’re reading this, you’re probably my friend. Which means you have been around me to see me chase dreams and desires that are fleeting at best and shallow at worst.
You have probably been around when I was in a killer band called boulder, co and thought we were the real deal (which we were). You have probably been around when I was recording music I wrote for Imago Dei Church, secretly thinking that my songs were so much better than all the other songs that this was for sure a ticket to at least some small semblance of being ‘known’ (it wasn’t). You were likely around when I was writing my book, or recording podcasts, or all of the other things I do to try to create spaces for conversations around lines of difference.
What you probably don’t know is that on many days, I am jealous of your life, too. Not because you’re famous, but because you seem to be satisfied with the way things are. Not in a sad way, but in a really healthy way, you know? I see you and your job and your rhythm of life and think, “Man, I really wish I was good at something that pays money.” Heck, I look at my wife every day and wish I was as talented as she is.
Will you forgive me?
Maybe you’ve noticed this about me and wondered when I was going to realize it. Maybe you never knew this and now you’re kind of not sure what to think of me anymore. Maybe you totally relate and are glad I put words to your inner self. Who knows? I am going to resist my desire to wrap this up neatly in a bow (which I am prone to do). Sometimes things just need to be said without resolution.
All I know is, I would really appreciate some forgiveness, because my jealousy and my hopeless/sad/half-hearted pursuit of fame has been and can be detrimental (aside from being shallow and completely pointless). I am praying for a deep contentment, and I hope you can find one too.