Friday, October 13, 2006

Stuck on You

Ever feel stuck?

I have a confession to make that very few know about me. (Ahh, the anonymity of the ‘net.) I have a condition known as Brown’s Syndrome. Essentially, certain small muscles around my left eye swell, vastly reducing the range my eye can move. Of course my right eye continues to move just fine, resulting in double vision when I look in certain directions. (Up.)

It is intermittent. Which means it can come on in the middle of the night and either disappear by morning or be with me for a week. It can last five months, a day, or not affect me for a year.

It is a good reminder of what it means to be “stuck.”

(Humorous side note. You know you have a fun condition when the titles of your doctors get longer and longer. I went from an optimist to an ophthalmologist to a neuro-ophthalmologist. Nothing like having the head of the eye department of a local hospital network ask if you could come back tomorrow so he can have his students examine you as well, as they are never likely to see such a pronounced example of your situation. Greeaaattt!)

All of us are stuck at times. Stuck by our employment. Stuck by our location. Stuck by our church, our family, our marriage, our children, our medical conditions. Stuck by life.

In my practice two scenarios come vividly to mind.

There are times I deal with juveniles or teenagers that commit crimes. I am placed in the position of informing their parents that these young men will be serving prison time for many years. Or be in juvenile detention for years. I watch these parents’ lives crushed.

They would do anything to take the place of their sons. They worked hard to provide and love their sons, yet in a moment—in an instant of a bad decision--their lives are changed. They are stuck.

The second circumstance is domestic violence. I see these women, abused by their husbands, yet refusing to leave them out of a fear of financial or emotional deprivation. In the constant paradox of hate/love of a man who beats them, yet later hugs them. They too, are stuck.

Face it—it stinks to be stuck.

When I get Brown’s Syndrome, eventually there comes a moment, a time where, with a visible “Pop” my eye begins to move freely. Oh, what a relief! To see again without double vision. To look up, down, right and left and not worry about that annoying view; not worry, “Will it stay this way? Is this it?”

All of us that are stuck are looking for that “Pop.” That moment where we feel free. The breeze on our face, the sun in our eyes, and the bright anticipation of the future, rather than the dread of tomorrow.

The internet has changed all of our lives. We can now talk to someone in Singapore or Paris with just a few clicks on the keyboard. Looking for a domestic abuse group? Google will bring up hundreds. We can now talk to others who are completely dissimilar to us, or exactly like us. We can find people that have the same problems, the same stuckness we have. I imagine I can find others with Brown’s Syndrome if I looked.

It is here that—for a second—we can unstick ourselves.

We can assume silly monikers like “DagoodS” or “Flaming Hot Rod” or “Bunch o’ Fun” or whatever we want. We can argue, we can laugh, we can love, we can get into grudges, even! Isn’t it amazing to watch people that become personally involved with “Cranky Pete” and actually spend more time focused on exacting revenge on an unknown user from Arizona, rather than their own lives!

It is here that we can release those anxieties and communicate and find a respite from the everyday stickiness.

I have another confession to make—I have never met, in person, a deconvert. Oh, I have met atheists. Not ones that want to talk about God, of course, since it would be as silly (to them) as talking about Santa Claus not being real. John W. Loftus was recently in a debate, and had it been closer to my locale, I hoped to attend and meet him. Literally, just to meet another deconvert.

While I hope to meet one in real life some day (sounds like we should be in a zoo, doesn’t it? *chuckle*) at the moment it is enough to have a chance to interact on-line.

To all of us that feel “stuck” at the moment, I hope we appreciate the fact we have others that we can communicate with through this medium. I have many people going through my mind that I wish I could hop in my car and drive to their house to have a coffee with them. I can’t. So, for right now, the ‘net will have to do.

I know we all feel stuck in some way. I hope we realize, like my pesky Brown’s Syndrome, that it is intermittent. That someday, it will “pop” and we will no longer be stuck.

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