Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Parable of Talents

I am reminded of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) as I write this; it has been the subject of much introspection of late, as well the object of discussion with my brother Jeremy not long ago. Read it and come back; I'll wait.

Okay, you probably didn't read it, but no matter. Maybe you already know it. The point is, I have been given talents, more talents than I have a right to have, and I know it. Yet I'm wasting it all - hiding them in the ground, if you will. For nearly seven consecutive years, I've managed my little pizza place, spending 45 to 60 hours a week within its walls, and the rest of my waking hours, it haunting my brain with its stresses and dependencies.

If you've never run a business, I'll liken it to having a small child; when you're there, it's always crying for attention, getting hurt, needing to be fed, needing a diaper and a bath, etc. And when you're not there, it's with a babysitter, and your comfort level revolves around who the babysitter is that day. When its with the babysitter, the thought is always in your mind that something isn't being done right - it's being neglected, mistreated, ignored - and the only respite is when it's asleep, i.e. closed.

Now, this relationship works well for many people; they take ownership in the child-business and enjoy watching it grow and develop. I, too, have enjoyed those things, but I have been always faced with the guilt of burying my real talents beneath the soil of "necessity" or "finances."

So the Wheel of Time turns, blah blah blah, and seven years have passed. I have not even attempted to complete a drawing in over eight years. I haven't composed anything complicated (non-pop, if you will), in over seven or eight years. I have written only 3 simple songs in the same amount of time; prior, I was probably writing a new song every month or two - music, lyrics, the whole package. I recently went over half a year without TOUCHING THE PIANO. Or singing. I had never gone more than a few days in the twenty years since I'd started playing.

Most importantly, my world of Solum, my true soul child, has continued to develop, along with its primary cultures, histories, plot, and characters, to the point that the time has finally come to go beyond outlines and discussions.

But I, mentally, cannot let go of that blasted restaurant enough to do any of it.

What's as bad, almost none of my loved ones seem to understand what it means to neglect these things. What it has done to my soul. I'm not the me I was supposed to be. It's sad to recall my more prolific days, the days when I was voted Most Talented by my classmates. The days when all of my mental energies were devoted to creativity and its spirituality. I would tell people that I never felt closer to God than when I was being creative. That the ability to create was sharing in the His joy. I'm not me anymore.

While my loved ones do note that it sad that I don't use these talents, they don't grasp what it really means to ignore those parts of my self, to have them atrophy and decay to their current levels, and to live with the subsequent depression. Memories of memories of happiness. So I am constantly asked to wait longer. As if 2500 days weren't long enough torture. Heck, if I can last seven years, then what's eight, they seem to say. "What about the kids, or the bills, or the future?" they ask. As if my happiness and well-being mean nothing. I begin to understand why suicide attempts are called walk-up calls to family members; otherwise, the victim is simply not taken seriously for his problems.

Depression is so misunderstood; no one would suggest that someone with a five year toothache hold off for one, two, three more years before seeking the cure. "Just take some Tylenol (Cymbalta) for your tooth (brain)." Right, because it HURTS. And because if you don't do something about a physical ailment, it worsens. The tooth will eventually rot. But they let my brain decay, with full knowledge of what I have told them, and that I am telling you. But they don't see. They don't understand the necessity of an artist to do art. So I am a pizza machine, rolling with the paralleladigm waves.

The last nine months or so have been very spiritually exciting for me; I have come to know God in a more personal way, and am trying to better understand my place within His plan. My God doesn't allow suicide, so I have no wake-up calls to present other than continuing to bring up the subject. Which makes me sound like a whiner (I assure, I am not), but I'm not too stupid to know when I need help. And, no, not just a pill. God has made it clear, as he has for years, that to truly follow His plan, I've got to get out of this management position. The Parable of Talents saddens me, because I was given the talents of the first servant, but I bury them like the third. And when my Master returns to settle accounts with me, I'll be digging for what He gave me from beneath the parking lot cement.