What To Do When Everything’s Gone to Shit
So let’ stalk about what to do when everything’s gone to shit, since I’m sure this is something with which we can relate. Anybody here ever have everything go to shit? OK, great.
I’ll start with a disclaimer: If you think I’m about to talk about dieting, you’d be wrong. I’m done with dieting because the two of us broke up finally which means I’m now free to marry the one true love of my life. I’m now free to marry rice pudding with just a little sprinkle of cinnamon. The wedding is every night as I watch reruns of Shark.
So if you want advice about how to get back on ye’ old diet plan, this isn’t it. (This podcast is it.) But if you’d like to know what I do to stop myself from starting a cocaine habit when I can’t seem to finish a book or my business catches fire or my best friend dies from his cocaine habit, then hear what I have to say. Because you may find it useful.
Now as some of you know I am indeed in the process of writing another book. Today I handed in the third round of edits. This business, I can tell you, is excruciating. Because here I’ll write for weeks and weeks and then right as my deadline looms imminent I’ll look at everything I’ve written and determine it to be disgusting trash and scrap every single word. Then only having twenty four hours before my entire manuscript is due, I’ll dabble in prayer to see if I can somehow be saved from all of this. I’ll ask God if maybe He can help. I’ll say, excuse me, um, Sir? If I may…
I believe every project is destined to be afflicted with a disaster at some point. In fact no good project ever goes untested by God, I don’t think, and probably that’s because God wants to see if we’re even all that into this, which is why he’ll let that devil-man loose to do his work with trying to distract or destroy us. And sometimes–very often–the devil will win. People close shop and say sorry but this is just too much. I’ve done it myself a number of times. Giving up. Saying the all-final fuck it.
But I haven’t done it recently. And part for the reason for whatever resiliency I’ve developed is I’ve come to believe God wants us to learn something as we struggle and strive to do good. I think God wants us to have fortitude and tolerance and grit since I can’t imagine God cares so much about the book you’re writing as he does the person you become while writing it. To me that just seems like something that God would be interested in. And maybe that’s because I have a hard time imagining God is all that interested in a 10 Day Belly Slimdown. But I could be wrong. Maybe the old paradox is true and God invented a cheesecake so good that not even He could refuse it.
So what saved me is knowing these trials are meant to serve some kind of purpose, and that the reason everything is so hard is because it has to be. How else are you going to learn anything? How else are you going to build determination and compassion, even if only for yourself? Maybe this is fantasy and maybe I’m just making it up. Or maybe I’m not. But I can tell you it’s only because of what I believe that I’m able to get through the days when it seems like there’s no getting through them, and hopefully/sometimes come out a better person because of them. It’s because of what I believe that I don’t take the bad days out on some stranger at the grocery store, or whenever I know I’m about to express my stress in an unhealthy way I force myself to sit down and meditate. I can’t say it’s always been like this, but it’s only ever been through the worst of times that I feel I’ve become a better man. So it seems we need those times where everything goes to shit to learn and grow in some important way, even if we don’t understand why at first. And if you’re like me you’ll probably a miss a lot of these opportunities and totally blow it, but don’t worry, you’ll get another chance. It’s not like everything goes to shit just once.