Does anyone else out there feel sometimes like they just bring out the worst in people?
Despite what some of my longtime readers might think, I’ve never been one to court controversy. I don’t go into a situation with the intent of stirring the pot. Usually, my default mechanism when joining a work place, or a community, or a conversation, or whatever, is to go along to get along. Keep my nose clean. Go with the flow. Make friends. That kind of thing.
But it seems like it just doesn’t go that way most times. I seem to become a reluctant agent of change in most settings I find myself in. I guess I’m just always the guy who measures what is being said against what is being done, and I’m just stupid enough to believe people mean what they say, or to believe people want a good situation to get better. I always seem to be the idiot who asks, “Hey, why is the emperor not wearing any clothes?” 🙂
But you know what? Sometimes I don’t even have to say anything. Sometimes it seems like I’m just present, and everybody’s crap starts coming to the surface. It gets unnerving sometimes.
This seems to be something that runs in my family. The Wild One and The Director have had the same kinds of experiences. In the church circles we lived in, friends used to say we had a “breaker anointing”, suggesting that somehow the Holy Spirit was using us to break off old mindsets, or traditions, or other things that might hold people back.
It sounds cool. Sounds super-spiritual and all. But can I be honest? Being an agent of change (if that’s what I am) is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it just feels like I bring out the worst in people, without meaning to, and sometimes even trying NOT to. I just can’t seem to go along to get along. And when you’re perceived to the the pot-stirrer, the guy rocking the boat, YOU get to bear the brunt of everyone’s discomfort. You are the one people get pissed at. And sometimes I just get tired of that.
Turns out that being an agent of change is dangerous business.
I do see it run in my family. If there is a “breaker anointing,” I think The Director might have it, also. I look at the situation that happened during the recent film shoot with the cinematographer who broke the camera. Breaking the camera was the icing on the cake; the fact is, for no apparent reason, this guy started acting out days and even weeks before the shoot. Even though he came highly recommended, and other local filmmakers had great experiences working with him, for some reason our project was different. The closer we got to shooting the film, the more this guy’s insecurities started surfacing, and the more mistakes he made. It was like he was literally sabotaging himself, and without any provocation on our end, we watched him get worse and worse until he did the unthinkable, and we had no choice but to let him go.
This weekend, I seem to be dealing with a similar situation regarding one of my writing assignments. The details are not that important, but suffice it to say I have gone into a particular situation as “eyes and ears” on the ground, and have been reporting back to headquarters (so to speak) what I’m seeing and hearing–not as a talebearer, but simply as part of what I believed my assignment to be. this weekend, I have gotten word back that my conversations have sparked controversy, and the resulting animosity is apparently being aimed at ME–for doing nothing other than what I was assigned to do! And the thing is, this has NOTHING to do with the church, or with institutions, or with anything overtly spiritual.
What. The. Crap?
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that whether intentionally or no, it appears I am an agent of change. Despite my intense desires to go with the flow, I somehow find myself repeatedly on the cutting edge, either breaking new ground or touting some sort of reform. Not because I crave it, but because conscience won’t allow me to be otherwise. And it sounds all awesome on paper. But the thing about being on the cutting edge is you get cut, too. Agents of change get to bear the brunt of all the resistance and bruising that goes along hitting up against the status quo. Agents of change frequently get vilified and blamed for telling the truth. Agents of change get to be punished for pointing out (no matter how innocently) that the emperor is naked. And sometimes I just get weary of being in this position.
Look, I know this sounds like a bit of a pity-party or martyrdom thing. I don’t mean it to sound that way. Mostly I’m just venting because sometimes, to be quite honest, I don’t feel like being on the cutting edge. Sometimes I just want to blend into my surroundings, become invisible, at least for awhile. And I have never particularly liked the idea of taking heat for someone else’s crap. Just saying.
But then again–isn’t that what Jesus did for us? On a greater level than any of us will ever experience?
Yep. That’s enough to cancel my pity-party. No matter how often I have felt this way, or seen this stuff happen around me–I’ll never bear the kind of burden Jesus did. None of us will. The only man who was completely innocent, bearing the entire burden of mankind’s sin. The ultimate agent of change.
Reminding myself of this leaves me no room to complain, or to feel sorry for myself (for very long, anyhow). 🙂 Thanks for listening to my rant. Back to business.