Today I give my #thisiscrazylove2016 to a fella I’ve never met. Though I feel like I know him due to the near four hundred hours I’ve listened to him talk about anything and everything under the sun. He’s a stand up comic in LA who has a podcast I listen to every week. His foul mouthed irreverence mixed with devotion to a loving God can sometimes be a breath of fresh air to a guy who has, for several years, been in what some refer to as a deconstruction and reconstruction of faith.
A little back story of complete honesty.
I have now for forty-one years of my life been unsure about a lot of things. Mostly though, I have been unsure of myself.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life pretending to be things I’m not in order to fit in with certain crowds. The entire time the performance is going on I feel a sense of guilt and discontentment but the desire to break that off and be true to me is overcome by a deep seeded need to fit in and feel like I belong.
It’s strange that after searching for a podcast to listen to on my way back to Missouri several years ago that I found a teacher in someone like this man.
His name is Pete Holmes.
Pete’s got a lot of different ideas about faith and while I don’t line up with him on all fronts I so appreciate his honesty and willingness to divulge his deep convictions and deeper neurosis with an audience who may or may not understand what he is talking about. He shares his thoughts as though he isn’t worried what others will think.
I started thinking about writing a post on Pete Holmes the other day after hearing of the passing of Garry Shandling. For some reason Mr. Shandling’s passing hit me harder than I expected. I also never knew him. Pete had Garry on his podcast a few months back and I devoured their conversation. Like many of Pete’s episodes it felt like I was a fly on the wall getting the chance to listen in to a private conversation.
I found Pete’s podcast in the first place because I was looking for interviews with Rob Bell. That in and of itself would be a good reason for many of the people I know in my own faith tradition to discount the notion of listening to anything this guy says.
There seems to be a roaring dissatisfaction with Rob and many other Christians out there who dare to question the status quo of what we think this faith thing is all about.
All that has remained as an undercurrent in my life for many years as I was, in part, not interested in the debates but mostly because I didn’t want to risk fitting in.
Listening to Pete has given me the appreciation for possibly being a late bloomer in the “who am I really” realm and helped me fight against the prideful notion that I should have it all worked out by now. I am coming to embrace that about myself.
It is with Pete that I first heard about Science Mike McHargue. I wrote about Mike early on in this year long endeavor to post love about someone each day on social media for a year.
Mike, like me, had gone through a faith shift and in the midst lost some friends and angered others. His journey and his continual search for what is true has also helped me along the way. But alas, this post isn’t about Mike. He got his #thisiscrazylove2016 back in January but I imagine he’ll probably get another post by the year’s end as he continues to help me in my journey on a weekly basis with his own podcasts.
I have had, all my life, this profound need inside for people to like me. It’s a curse as I struggle from time to time to just be myself and let people make their own conclusions. It’s hard to even write those words as I hear this small voice in my head saying, “Stuart, don’t tell people that. You have to keep it all together and make everyone believe you got it all going right.”
Then another voice comes in with, “No way! Tell the truth. There may be others out there with the same problem and they need to hear that they aren’t alone.”
Truth is I can’t be worried about either. (I had to write that last sentence for myself.)
One of the things Pete likes to say a lot… I mean A LOT, is that he is a big fan of loving himself.
Those words, the first time I heard them, didn’t register with me at all. The whole notion from the Christian story of loving your neighbor as yourself was always perplexing to me. I had no problem loving my neighbor. I just didn’t know how to love myself.
I have the constant ramblings going on in my mind of not measuring up, not getting it right, not being able to accomplish the simple tasks that are set before me. Then, in despair, I let my failings hang over me like a dark cloud with little notion I will see the sun.
Pete Holmes, in his weekly podcast, somehow helps me brave the lonely corners of my soul and spark some small fire of bravery to acknowledge them and bring them to the party of a life well loved.
These goings on in this blog may not make any sense to anyone. They are, as I have written before, a sort of free form writing for me to get out onto the page and post before going back and editing or tightening up. I fight every instinct inside to not try to rehash the sentences and look for way to neatly tie all the loose ends up by the end. As I use this blog to post love and admiration for others I try also to learn what it is to live openly and honestly with my thoughts in black type on a white backdrop to retrain my brain to set all of it on the table and let the people who want to come dine with me do so.
One thing I am sure of is this. I wouldn’t be able to write these things and pour out a little bit of me without the encouragement I get each week from Pete Holmes. And for that I give #thisiscrazylove2016 to a guy who has the balls to say what I am only able to say to my closest, most personal friends.