“Lacking hope…we don’t wait to find the fullness of our existence in God, and so we shape an artificial identity grounded in pride. Lacking hope, we don’t really believe God can make us happy, and so we construct our happiness out of covetousness and lust” (Interior Freedom, pg. 105).
This just rocked me. This is exactly what I have done- shaped an artificial identity grounded in pride. When you were sick, I pretended to be hopeful. It was so fake. The truth was I didn’t believe God could make me happy, especially considering the current circumstances- you being sick, mom being weak and emotional, Adam being a rebel. So what was I to do? I constructed my own happiness. Soccer became more and more what I coveted. Perfection and outward success became more and more what I lusted after. Approval and recognition became more and more what I depended on for value and worth. I saw deficiencies as unlovable, so I ran from them, ran from the part of reality that would lead me to the greatest sense of love- that being such a strong awareness of baseness and wretchedness in my soul, that which Jesus isn’t surprised by and still welcomes me into His embrace. Like Judas, I avoided His gaze, I locked myself in my own secret despair. Thus, I couldn’t see why happiness was so desirable, particularly after you died. The happiness I constructed for myself was not desirable and couldn’t last because it was based on coveting and lust, self-sufficiency. In my distancing from acknowledgment of deficiencies, from the discovery of myself, from accepting my own truth that in the measure I discover myself I would discover the depths of His love, I crafted an identity completely grounded in pride. This is the lock I often feel on my soul, my own chains I fastened to my heart. Dismissing deficiencies as unlovable, I dismissed the very essence of love itself. Dismissing happiness as undesirable, I choked any breath of real hope. Love needs hope to grow. My front of fake hope left my heart to shrivel and my soul to wither in pride. A hard casing, a barrier of walls grew in the place of love. My sense of self, detached from its true source of life and light, grappled for anything, anything to claim as an identity. This was soccer, athletics, school, being a good student. These lifeless things, gifts though they are, cannot fill the place of faith, hope, and love. This is the reason the discovery of self can be so caustic and biting. In the discovery of weakness, wretchedness and littleness, the hiding places of pride, covetousness, lust and selfishness are revealed. In the attachment of the self back to its intended source of life, comes the detachment of pride. And pride’s roots run so deeply.