I was chatting with one of my first students from BFA and her fiancé, and Alyssa reminisced about the first week of class with me as her teacher. The two things that stand out over seven years later are that one lesson I ripped off my shoe and my sock and threw them across the room to show my tattoo in an excited monologue about how awesome following Jesus is and that I told the whole class "I hate people." I laughed that those were the things to stand out, but I realized that I still frequently use the line "I hate people" and am trying to consciously change it to "People are a challenge to me."
I also frequently describe myself as an emotionless robot.
Years ago, Tessa Violet released the song "Make Me a Robot," and I resonated with it deeply as a cry my heart makes when I'm depleted after spiritual warfare or discouragements in life as I struggle with people or general fatigue (often related to nerve damage).
One of my best friends thought it was a break up song - which maybe it is - but I use this as my lament in battle fatigue. "He" isn't an ex-boyfriend when I hear the song - it's the forces of evil all around me. It's not a melodramatic whiny diatribe about hating men; it's a moment of recognition that life takes a lot of effort.
A couple specific people in my life frequently call me out on my robot ways, and a few months ago, Caylie laughed as I used the phrase "robot in a convent" in a sentence talking about how I was challenged by not understanding the emotions of others and really wanted to just give up dealing with people altogether. She joked it'd make a great poem, so a couple weeks ago, I wrote it. I still struggle with people a lot, but I'm growing a ton in this season, and I'm incredibly grateful for the people who are patient with me in my frustrations, and I'm even grateful for the people who offend me so that I can learn to communicate better and avoid future hurts and miscommunications. I've said before that whatever it means to be made in the image of God, it's connected to relationship. I'm not allowed to run away to a convent or a cave as much as I'd like to do that because God has made me in his image to love him and love others. Just yesterday, sixty seniors responded in unison to my start of the sentence "We all know the purpose of reading the Bible is..." with a resounding "to foster loving relationships with God and other people!" I love my job, and I love my students; I love God, and I'm learning to love people better too.
Robot in a Convent
The world outside has so much space
The world inside is ordered and clean
The little robot confines herself
The people outside have so much love
The people inside keep quiet and hide
The little robot is scared of love
The colors outside have such vibrancy
The colors inside are muted and dull
The little robot doesn't see the rainbows
The air outside is fresh and moves
The air inside is stale and still
The little robot forgets she has lungs
The life outside invites community
The life inside rejects relationship
The little robot was made to be a human