It came about because my managing the bipolar brought me to a place where I could finally be aware of the very horrible things that I did. Because of bipolar disorder... but that's not an excuse for my actions. Like any other disease, a person has to take responsibility for it and everything associated with it.
It took two years, leading up to that point, before I could understand what had happened. I can sum up my realization no better than this: "Dear God, what have I done?"
To get hit like that with final comprehension of the pain I had inflicted, the people I had hurt, what it had cost me... It was like a bomb had been dropped into my heart and finally detonated, shattering everything.
It was during the long months after when I went public with my bipolar. But most people never saw what was really transpiring on this side of the screen during that time: the nights of crying (literally) out to God, praying to be forgiven. Praying for reconciliation. Praying that I might somehow make up for it all. Asking Him to please bring peace to my heart and quiet to my mind.
That was three years ago. Since then, my control of the bipolar has become much better. Not "perfect". It will never be "perfect". It's like golf: the only way you could ever seriously beat a golf course is if you managed to make a hole-in-one on every hole. I don't think Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer ever pulled that off, even...
Eventually, most of the people I sought forgiveness from granted it. Some things I had prayed for however did not happen. Even so God has brought me a long, long way in three years. In one year, even. I cannot but be thankful for that.
And yet here I am, on Thanksgiving weekend, much like it was in 2010, and I'm spending it crying out to God. Again.
"Dear God, what have I done?"
This time, it's worse. Much, much worse. And I'll tell you why...
I have come to a place where I see how bipolar clouded and distorted my sympathy toward others. That it made me fail to see how precious every life... every life... is. How we are all made by God and in our own way, waging a difficult battle that requires His grace.
And now I see how there were too many times when I neglected that. In my writing. In my actions. In too many other facets of my life. And again, it has cost me.
Again, it has broken me.
Three years ago I read the Book of Job over and over. It evoked a comfort - along with other scripture - that God is with us in the midst of our grieving. I have read Job at least three times during the past few days.
I don't know why God allowed me to have this condition. It was something I was born with: something that I have discovered runs in an entire side of my family (Dad was thankfully spared). Once it's encoded in your DNA there's nothing to be done but hope the genome doesn't activate. I lost that particular roll of the dice. I'll have to abide this for the rest of my life. Have to keep my own mind in check lest it turns against me.
I have to hold on to the hope that for all of this pain, God has His hands involved and is working through it. For what purpose, I cannot fathom.
I have barely... barely... cried tears for well over the past two years. It was probably a combination of the bipolar and some of the medication I've been taking to manage it. I held Mom's hand as she passed away and I spoke at her funeral and not once the entire time did the critical connection get made that allowed me to weep tears for my own mother no longer being in my life.
The past two weeks have seen me cry harder, and more tears, than I could have across the past decade previous. Crying in prayer. Crying in the presence of friends. Crying myself to sleep.
What have I been crying about? Everything. Most especially the hurts and insults and petty vindictiveness that I have inflicted too many times in my life.
I'll give you an example. Most readers know how little in regard I hold the Transportation Security Administration. I still think the TSA and the entire Department of Homeland Security is a colossal waste of money and a violator of citizens' rights. But that should not include extending that sentiment toward individual employees!
A year and a half ago, I did that. It was while flying out of the airport in Portland, Oregon. I saw an opportunity to abuse a TSA agent, only because I allowed my thoughts to fixate on the TSA's own abuses. And then I allowed the lesser angels of my nature to act.
While sparing the details, I will say this: Yours Truly, Robert Christopher Knight, was a complete jerk and a total asshole.
And on the off chance that this particular TSA agent ever reads this: I sincerely apologize. I should never have done that. You were only doing your job. I made it harder the it should be. I can't go and take back what I did, but I do apologize for it.
I am grieving also because of how I have used this blog in the past to attack some people. There is one in particular, a certain local board of education member, who I previously apologized to in a blog post. He accepted the apology and I am extremely thankful for that. But even so, I can't ignore the fact that I was not acting like a follower of Christ should. I can't ignore it now.
Every hurt, every insult, every spiteful thought... has come crashing down on me. So many people in my lifetime that I was petty toward, unsympathetic toward, even jealous of... and I'm just now realizing it.
Do I grieve for what I have lost? I'd be lying if I denied it. But I grieve more terribly for the apathy and disregard I have shown others.
Why did God let me have bipolar? And why is it that in the process of getting better control over it, I also find myself so severely confronted by my own fallen nature?
Why am I so broken?
I am broken now, again. And... I don't know what to do anymore. The world suddenly seems filled with nothing but cruelty and misery. People hurting and even killing each other for cheap electronics and designer fashions. People on the brink of losing almost everything they've earned because of government mandates represented by a crippled website. People preaching hate in the name of God and other people preaching hate in the name... of all things... humanity.
For the first time I'm seeing the world for what it is, and it has broken me.
Why couldn't I have been allowed to see it before? Have a chance to... I don't know... at least adapt to it. Figure out how to survive in it?
Would I have done better, then? Could I have found myself at this point in my life prosperous, with a real home and a family of my own?
Is this ultimately what bipolar disorder has cost me? Failing to see the world in all its fallen glory, unable to cope with it?
Is this my greatest failure as someone living on this Earth?
I could have gone my entire life with the blinders still on. Three years ago I could have remained blissfully unaware of the hurt I had caused others. Instead I was untimely ripped into birth of conscience, and now in 2013 born again in this brave new world...
And it has broken me.
There have been very few times where I have had any peace during the past several weeks. This afternoon brought one of them. My lifelong friend, Chad Austin, came to visit. He played with Tammy the Pup for the first time, and it lightened my heart to see it. And then Chad and I went to eat pizza.
Chad has been closer than a brother to me. His prayers (as well as those of many others) have sustained me during this time. During our late lunch he mentioned something that I've found myself clinging to desperately these days and weeks...
That this world is not our home. That we are meant to be only passing through it. That there is a Place far better, far more wonderful, than we can possibly imagine.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
-- Romans 8:18-25
I am broken. I will always be broken, in this broken world. I suffer and it is not only my flesh that groans in pain, but my own mind.
What is getting me through this long dark night of my soul, presently? It is knowing that this isn't where I'm supposed to be. And it's not where I'm going to be, forever.
For there will come a time when my mind and body will be healed. Made new. My mind will never again know bipolar!
I will be broken no more.
And in that Place, all of those who I have loved and hurt along the way will at last know how much I did love them, in spite of my earthen mind. And there will be no goodbyes... forever.
"It is a dream I have..."