I had this brilliant idea last week that I would send the word out to some friends I knew had battled with depression in their own lives and invite them to be guest bloggers this week. I think I did this on a Wednesday or Thursday because, in my scatterbrained mind, I figured this was plenty of time for one to collect their thoughts and write a short post exposing their vulnerabilities, admitting their shortcomings, and discussing one of the most difficult mental ordeals a person can go through. You know, just have all that together by Monday. Okay?
I had a few takers, but nothing to post for today, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Writing about depression is not something you just sit down and do, you know? I had an ulterior motive for asking them anyway. My family and I are currently on a sort of mini-vacation to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. We wrapped up the first day today, and we’ll be going back again tomorrow. In case you’re not familiar with the Creation Museum, it is the brainchild of Ken Ham, author and founder of Answers in Genesis. It’s basically a museum dedicated to showing how creationism and science can line up and co-exist.
Just a note before I go any further. I realize that not everyone who stumbles across this blog is a Christian, and probably not everyone who reads what I write believes in creationism. My wife and I do believe in it, however, and we wanted to check out the museum for ourselves and, hopefully, teach our children some things in the process. What I do not what to come out of this post is a bunch of comments and debate about Ham, Christianity, or creationism. If you do leave any comment related to any of those things, I won’t post it. That’s not what I’m here for.
Anyway, there’s nothing much more intimidating to this English major than the word “science.” I just do not have the mind for it. I faked my way through it all through school, and I even wound up in an honors chemistry class at one point. The fact that I once scored a 19 out of 100 on a test in that class, however, shows how out of my depth I was. If I averaged a C in a science class in college, I was over the moon, so to visit a place where science was supposed to be used a tool to prove my religious faith had me quaking in my boots.
One of the first attractions we took in today was a sort of satirical video titled Men in White. It began with a woman sitting by a campfire in the desert posing questions to the night sky about the existence of God. Two angels then appear and attempt to convince her of His existence through a series of scientific and spiritual points. The way I described it just now actually makes it sound much more profound than it was, but it’s hard for me to knock it too much because the people who created the video obviously had their hearts in the right place.
At one point, as the video points out how the largely accepted theory of creation is evolutionary and how that is what is taught in most high school and college classes, the woman by the fire says, “I don’t want people to think I’m stupid.” Now, she was talking about how expressing a belief in God might draw ridicule from more intellectual types, but I felt something else entirely when I heard the words.
I don’t want people to think I’m stupid either.
I don’t recall anyone in my life ever calling me stupid. In fact, I always had a reputation as one of the smart kids in school, the kind whose paper you’d try to get a glimpse of during a test. I thought when I got my first C in high school (It was in geometry, by the way.) that the world was going to end. I prided myself on being viewed that way, but looking back now I think it had more to do with the fact that for whatever reason I never felt all that smart. I just felt like if I didn’t at least have that, well, what else did I have?
In my case, however, I think the problem lies more in devaluing the talents I do have than lamenting the ones I don’t. For instance, I generally carry around a lot of shame concerning my lack of mechanical prowess. I have a friend who’s building a cabin right now practically by himself. If I change a light bulb without burning the house down, I consider myself Bob Vila. That does bother me greatly and makes me feel extremely inadequate, but the good traits I do possess don’t take me that far in the other direction.
Take this blog, for instance. I feel like I’m a good writer. Not a great writer, but a pretty good one. I mean, I don’t know if I could write a novel or anything like that. I’m not that good at describing scenes. I won a state award as a reporter one time, but the story wasn’t really that good. Those contests are not really that accurate anyway. I do have quite a few followers on this blog, but some people just follow anything they happen to come across. They’re probably not reading everything I write.
See where I’m going here? I didn’t even make that up for effect. That was the natural flow of my thoughts.
Sometimes our problem isn’t that we think we’re stupid. Sometimes our problem is we don’t think we’re smart enough. We may recognize we have certain positive traits or admirable skills, but we don’t feel as if they’re enough to overcome all our shortcomings. So we sort of stay in that limbo zone, where we’re fiercely defensive about anyone telling us we’re not smart enough, but also believing the intelligence we do possess is not particularly that impressive. It’s as if we constantly occupy the middle ground, never sinking too low but never reaching too high either.
Hey, you guest bloggers I reached out to: What you’re thinking of writing is good enough. What you’ve been through is important. And what you write doesn’t have to be as long as this! Maybe having this much time to write isn’t such a good thing after all!