June 24, 2020

"What would Jesus do in your place?"

Ok, so this one will need some explanation. The actual subject is crushes. Everyone has them sooner or later I guess, but as a little girl, I always felt above all that. Sure some boys were fun to play together with but I never felt anything special about any of them.

In Bible class in primary school, we learned about the fall. In the 3rd chapter of Genesis, God says this thing about women "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Although I never had a problem with the second half, the first half always bothered me. Partly because clingy women were usually portrayed as weak and annoying nuisances, and mostly because I really couldn't see what was so special about guys. I found them to be mean, rude and not particularly smart. There is no way I would 'desire' for any of them! I couldn't even be bothered to get to know them better or make friends. I just tolerated them, they did tend to have a superior sense of humour after all. Over the years there were a few boys I sometimes enjoyed talking about videogames with, but we never became friends. I was content living in my own fantasy worlds that I never told anyone else about. I was afraid of being laughed at or causing a scandal.

The change came slowly and sneakily. Like you know, the saying about boiling frogs. It all started with high school, as per usual. My class was made up of three faculties, mostly science-oriented. We had Biology and Chemistry, Maths and Physics and the odd one out Math and History. I was in bio-chem by the way. There were some kids I already knew in my new class but most were new. One of my new classmates looked a tiny bit like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, but a teenager. It wasn't only a physical appearance thing though, he would always stand in a tough-guy stance and he had this serious air about him. Not that I am saying he wasn't funny, no, on the contrary, he loved to do voices and joke around, but even though he never gave a straight answer when asked what he wanted to be, it was clear from his actions that he did have a goal and was ready to do what he had to do in order to achieve it. Me being someone who just stared out the window all day like some edgy anime protagonist, I respected him for having a goal and found him cool. We didn't have too many classes together since he was in the Math Physics faculty. He was in my history class though. He made the most exciting presentations. He even brought in a Greek helmet once! Our history teacher wasn't the best so listening to presentations made by someone who cared was refreshing and made the class bearable. It was not to last though, he said that history is really important for his studies and decided to attend the faculty class instead. I was kinda bummed out about that, but it was undeniable that the teacher didn't teach much. We just went through the book methodically. So I guess I tried to be happy for him 'He is in a better class at least' and 'He is studying what he wants to', but my history classes were doomed with no one left who actually cared for the subject.

Of course, not all classes were as unendurable as my history class. English as a foreign language was always one of my favourites. At the beginning of the first year, we had to do a placement test so they split the whole year in two based on our abilities. It didn't have to be a particularly hard test since a lot of kids learned German as their foreign language in primary school instead of English, so there was a substantial amount of them who couldn't even form a single sentence. I got into the advanced class and It was great. We had a young bachelorette teacher who was super chill, but could still keep the classroom together with little effort. We went through all kinds of different topics from shopping through politics to the genetic modification of organisms. Funnily enough, English reading tasks were the place where I learned of some of the most intriguing factoids. The best thing though was the fact that we were required to talk about these varied topics with our classmates as a speaking exercise. I loved chatting with my girlfriend from the IT class, we always sat next to each other so unless the teacher told us something along the lines of 'stand up and talk to three people you haven't talked to yet today', we would pair up. 'Maximus' was also in my English class. He had an entertaining personality so I found myself wanting to sit closer to him to hear his jokes and to maybe get a chance to talk to him. I didn't have the nerve to just walk up to him outside of class like a normal person so I instead waited for the teacher to tell us to talk or work together as a group. I was soo worried about him maybe thinking I'm weird that I rather avoided him and listened in to his conversations with the other guys, which thinking back is probably weirder, but whatever.

One day, my small squad and I were walking around the schoolyard talking and the girlfriend I mentioned before, who happened to also be from the humanities class, tells us about how that day in history class they were working in groups and she was in the same group with 'Maximus', and another girl from their group asked for his phone number. The story ended with him flatly refusing her advance so it was a pretty harmless and fun piece of gossip, but although no one noticed, it was a real emotional roller coaster for me. Hearing about someone making a move on him made me feel super uncomfortable, I didn't even understand what was wrong with me at first. I was just super angry for no real reason, but hearing about him showing no interest in her whatsoever, made me relieved and calm. And as I calmed down and tried to quickly analyse what just happened, I realised that I was jealous. 'No way! Who is he to me that I would be bothered by a girl showing mild interest in him? He is just my classmate. Sure she is not in the same class, but it never bothers me when other classmates of mine talk to girls outside of our class. He can be friends with whoever he wants to. It's none of my business.' My raging emotions, however, didn't really align with that sentiment. I was totally not okay with her getting close to him. As much as I hated the idea of me having a crush, there wasn't any other 'illness' that fitted the symptoms quite as perfectly, even so, it took me months of extreme introspection to finally come to terms with the thought.

However, even if I accepted the fact that I indeed had a crush, I hated it and did my very best to douse any weird feelings I was having. I started sitting a bit farther from him in class, I tried acting cool and distant so I was all sarcasm whenever I spoke up. I felt miserable. I liked him a lot, but back then my self-esteem was really low. I was doing poorly at school, I barely studied for anything I just got by somehow not even bothering to truly live. I had no motivation for anything real. I was still stuck in my escapist fantasies and anime addiction. I wasn't exactly girlfriend material and I knew that perfectly. So even though I couldn't just 'un-like' him the way I planned, I was convinced I would ruin his life if I was a part of it, so I kept keeping my distance as much as possible. It was a weird time. Sometimes I would be motivated to become someone I could imagine next to him, someone he deserves, other times I gave up and simply wished to disappear, but no matter what I never showed any of this to those around me. I didn't want my family to have to waste their time on a mess like me. And I didn't even want to bother God with my problems. I was convinced, I was not good enough to seek his help. I wanted to become better and I wanted to do it all on my own. I wanted to prove my worth by getting my life on track, I was still under the delusion that I somehow had to earn God's love. Even though I heard the Good News so many times, it never really sank in. I still wanted to redeem myself.

I somehow got through high school and I had enough points to get into the University of Debrecen where I started studying medicine. It was the perfect chance to prove myself. However, my initial enthusiasm didn't get me far. I started to prepare less and less for classes, I missed more and more lectures until I stopped going almost altogether. I stayed in my room all-day, played videogames and watched all kinds of series. When my roommates started worrying about me I just did my best to avoid them. I went on long walks in the nearby forest or the city, I slept in until the afternoon and sometimes stayed up until dawn. I couldn't even finish a single year. My family was really upset. Everyone was asking me questions and I didn't have the answers. If I'm being honest, I still don't have them. I thought I wanted to learn and to be a doctor in the end, but at the same time, I wished to just stop existing. I have a deep fear of pain so I never injured myself and I was scared of actually committing suicide because I fully believed that would only eternalise my problem and get me straight to Hell. I wanted to never have been, or at least I wanted someone else to end me. I was fantasizing of getting snatched by organ traders or selling my body for parts. I was thinking that maybe I could get the money back to my parents and then I wouldn't be such a waste anymore.

After flunking I moved back to my parents' place and started looking for a job. The plan was for me to retake the high school finals the next spring and get into university in our city, and until then I was to work. I got a job in a fast-food restaurant and things started to look up again. I was reading the Bible more, I was going to church more regularly and I learned to be more punctual at my work as well. I was working for almost a year and I was convinced that I would be fine if I started University again. I was starting to believe that I could become someone fit for a relationship though I knew I still wasn't. I haven't seen my crush too often. Although our high school class would have meet-ups every year, he never attended. It seemed outside of school, we didn't have much in common but it still made my day whenever I saw him at church and I still saw his lookalikes wherever I went.

Next September, I got into Semmelweis University into the faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences where I again started out great, but when I failed the first important test, my self-worth plummeted. Instead of studying harder, I ran away. This time I didn't even start the second semester. I set my status to passive and stayed home. I would have spiralled into depression again. Christmas came around and I was feeling absolutely worthless. My whole life I was given everything I could ever need, I even had a second chance and I blew it. Here I was, 22 years old, and I still haven't achieved anything worthwhile. I shut myself in my room for days and only came out at night when my parents weren't around. I was so ashamed, I couldn't look them in the eye. My mom called me out of my room for the Christmas dinner. I was so surprised. I thought she hated me and didn't want to see me. After dinner, the whole family sat down in the living room and we talked about all kinds of issues. That was when my father pointed it out to me how dangerous my thinking has become. He told me that me thinking that I had to fix myself before seeking God was basically saying that I think Jesus's sacrifice was not perfect. I was putting myself in the place of my saviour. It's idolatry. And then it clicked. He did already pay the price for my sins and all he was asking in return was my heart, the innermost centre of my being. So in my mind, I said to him 'If you want this dysfunctional piece of disgusting junk so much, you can have it. It's yours. God knows I have no idea what to do with it. I have been trying to fix it up nicely, but I only managed to make it worse.' I kinda pictured it like a goopy mudball. 'I really wanted to give it to you nicer, but if you don't mind having it like this, then it's fine. I know you will take much better care of it than I ever could.' After Christmas, I went back to studying for the exams and managed to pass some subjects, but it was clear that I had to start the first year all over again.

I kept myself busy and then the quarantine hit so I almost forgot about my crush. I was reading Getting Things Done, student edition, when I got to a part where the book explained about the process of planning, the boy in the example was planning to go out with some friends. He was asking himself a lot of questions like what he should wear or which movies will be playing in the cinema and finally "I wonder if She will be there." My chest got tight. I immediately remembered how I used to think that same question about Him whenever I was preparing for a class meet-up. But he never showed up. I was getting so frustrated. 'We haven't even talked in almost three years now. We have nothing in common. So, why am I randomly reminded of him? I was supposed to grow out of this stupid crush ages ago! This is soo unreasonable.' Loose threads are a bit of a theme in the book, so I started thinking that maybe the fact that I never confessed my feelings to him, was the reason I kept thinking about him. So I imagined walking up to him, telling him I had a crush on him for a while now and requesting that he would reject me. It was supposed to be a light-hearted and fun bit, but I started crying. Rejection was painful, even if I was just planning it. I laid down on my bead to cry but got immediately angry with myself. 'I don't have time for this stupid self-pity.' But the tears wouldn't stop, so in a desperate attempt to regain my composure I asked myself, 'What would Jesus do in your place?' I scoffed. 'He is a man. He would never be in my place to begin with, having stupid crushes. And it's not like he was ever rejected...' and then I remembered. When Pilate told the Jews, “Here is your king!” They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Should I crucify your king?” The high priests responded, “We have no king but Caesar!” '...that's rough man. People get rejected all the time, but no one is executed for unrequited love. What am I being so down about? Realistically I have nothing to lose.' It struck me as a really weird thought, but it did console me a lot. I don't know if I would go up to him as I planned the moment the quarantine is over, but maybe someday. Now that I am no longer afraid to get rejected, the thought that he might refuse to do so scares me more.

No matter, I found it really funny how this old saying came through for me in the end. It used to be something empty that adults would pester us with. As a kid, I never really thought it through. I guess Jesus wasn't really a flesh and blood person in my eyes. My concept of God was really vague. Not that I think myself super clear and enlightened in the subject now, but at least I think I am starting to get it. I think I might be starting to get him.

Written by Aislene

Log in to Like
Log In to Favorite
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Posted On Jun 26, 2020

this is a powerful sharing🙆🙆

You must be signed in to post a comment!