Anthony W. Brooks
In my last letter, dear Athanasius, I laid out my thoughts and concerns about the anxiety I feel with every fiber of my consciousness. Your words to me were as a horse’s bridle steering me toward certainty. What I was feeling was the same thing you felt in your walk in this alien culture in which we have been assigned. They were a beautiful symphony of comfort that I have read and reread every night before I pray. So I have decided to write again to, hopefully and without much brevity, receive this advice again on anther matter.
As you know from previous conversations, I work as a manager for a small restaurant. The workers there are people of the culture. They live and work in the world, but are not separate from the world as you and I try to be. I often share stories from my time doing the same to give them some idea that I understand the life they live. In contrast I tell them that I am no longer this way, and how I found a foundation for peace in the life that I now live. This all seems good, I understand, but the parts that are troublesome are coming up stream.
What seems to me as a contradiction is this. The more I hear them talk about their sexual exploits, freedom from responsibility, slothfulness, or whatever else, I feel envious. I want this sort of hedonism. My responsibility as a husband, father, churchman, writer, and other such generic titles puts a shackle on me and an expectation. I can’t sleep in until the afternoon. I can’t enjoy the company of many women, I can’t warp my view of reality with psychedelics anymore. That’s not who I am or who I am supposed to be. And in some times of lapse judgment it is who I want to be.
In your last correspondence you told me that when we were brought into Christ’s Kingdom we were recreated. He destroyed the old man to make room for the new. This was enlightening, but I find myself wishing that I could have one night in the Roman bath house again. What is this desire that makes me want more of it? I know the technical term is sin, but there has to be more there. Whatever it is… it doesn’t feel right.
Since we last spoke I have taken your advice and started to pray for Christ to place someone on my heart to show me what real hardship is. Is it them? Are my employees the hardships I wish to avoid? All of them are unique in their suffering. In a juvenile sort of way they amuse themselves of the pain they endure with their hedonism. Maybe I haven’t been looking close enough.
Forever in your debt,
Soli Deo Gloria!