Sometimes I just want to quit, but not just quit: like completely explode and flip tables and throw office supplies and kick over the water dispenser and tell the jerk co-worker why his existence is unnecessary and go fricking buckwild down the hallway yelling obscene profanities at everyone who dares to step into my zone.
I play this over carefully in my head, premeditating my furious wrath to the most miniscule detail down to making the universal gesture at the exit for “You guys are Number One.” I’m a meteorologist charting out the path of a hurricane, except I’m laughing about it like some evil scientist in his basement.
Maybe that’s not healthy. Am I alone in this? Because I sense I’m not the only Drama Queen here.
I wish people had better prepared me for people. They don’t tell you that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean right results. They don’t tell you how to handle uncooperative employees and clients and co-workers, except to “be nice.” No one can prepare you for the overwhelming feeling of always being at the verge-of-nervous-breakdown.
No one mentions the painful messiness in marriage, with children, with a church, with peers and elders and youth. They forget to tell you how to deal with conflict, confrontation, disagreements, stubbornness, betrayal, lies, grief, anger.
And no one tells you that most of this is just a phase, and a part of life, and that it will pass, if only you take heart and keep pressing forward.
There are weeks I just want to quit. Throw in the towel, raise the white flag, both hands up: You got me. You win. You happy? I quit. I’m through, it’s over, I’m done. How about that? It’s like you wanted me to, you know. So congratulations. Proceed.
But then — there’s always a but then. While there are some things that must be let go, most commitments require your entire being. Nothing less. Not everyone and everything is meant to make me happy or “feel good.” No one exists to serve me. Most of the time when things don’t work out, we flip out, because we’re a bunch of Selfish Entitled Greedy American Morons. I’m not sure how to put that gently. So I won’t.
Some of us live in a Disney-Land-Fantasy-World where we think everything has to go perfectly, and that God owes us something, and that people should just shut up and submit. But that’s not reality, and I’m a fool to even halfway think so. If your marriage exists to serve you, you’ll quit. Same with your job, your church, your kids, your walk with God. Most people think quitting somehow magically makes things better. Is that really somehow a smarter plan?
Trust me: I’d love to make a Grand Exit. I daydream about it more often than I want to admit. But life is commitment and consistency. Without that, we’re not human: just animals following the latest loudest emotions. The one thing that keeps me together is knowing I am a source of constancy. No one really notices you when you stick it through, but people notice if you walk out. Only at the end do people remember: That guy didn’t give up. He had every reason to and he didn’t. Forty years, he was in it. And he kept his word.
The people before me who quit only set an unstable precedence. The people who stayed: I remember their sacrifice. I remember their tears, sweat, blood, prayers, persistence. I’m not about to jump from island to island of shallow, half-baked, broken promises. I want to be on this commitment thing, no matter what it looks like. I want to be the guy who kept his word: because to someone, somewhere, it matters.
I think of Jesus, and his blood. He was committed to us, too, when he had every reason to leave that garden. He washed the feet of Judas. He poured out to Peter. He cared for both Mary and Martha. He could’ve called angels with a furious wrath for a Grand Exit, but he hung on a tree. He loved regardless. Sometimes I wish he didn’t — it can be so frustrating to think how he pursued us — but he didn’t and doesn’t give up.
Should we do any less?
I cannot, cannot, cannot quit. I won’t give up. He didn’t, either.