Frustrated At My Frustrations.

by Chris Kamalski

I often forget how frustration is directive, and can lead to deep innovation.

I unabashedly love the etymology of words, to the point where the dictionary feature on Macbook Pro is permanently located in my icon dock. In college, whenever I was stuck with how to begin a paper, or couldn’t find a snazzy hook for the beginning of a sermon to students, I would often find inspiration in the intended meaning of a word in its original Latin or Germanic root.

[A brief aside: Isn’t this what inspiration is at its own core? The ability to move one’s self forward from a place of paralyzed frustration into continued creativity?]

I stumbled across this clever index card depiction on Marko’s blog the other day, and have recognized it stumbling around my subconscious ever since, generally creating a growing havoc that in so many avenues right now, my life is stuck.

Yes, I have moved across the world.

But why does it feel like I am still in a holding pattern, unable to sustain a consistent rhythm of life, openness to God, and to growth in my own soul?

Yes, everything has changed (New friends, a coming new house and neighborhood, a developing community and sense of mission and personal calling, actually being on the same continent as my girlfriend).

But why am I still resistant to embrace this change?

The word frustration originated from the 16th century Latin word ‘frustrare,’ which has its roots in the concept of disappointment. Hmm. That is profoundly unsettling. Maybe I continue to buy society’s lie that the next hill over will be perfect, that I will finally arrive, finished with this seemingly endless internal struggle of doubt v. faith, anxiety v. peace, disappointment v. joy, a never-ending battle hoping for perfection and being disappointed in reality?

My mind whirrs most days as if I am a laptop that won’t shut down. How do I live alive, trusting, in reality? How do I receive the myriad of gifts before me, as the presence of God hovers as close as my last breath? Welcoming and new South African friends, a patient and loving woman at my side, and exciting (albeit largely unknown and unconfirmed) missional opportunities with our team.

I sure hope God is up to something grand. I desire a profoundly permanent awakening, yet realize my hypocritical frailty and inability to sustain said depth of transformation each day.

Maybe I am learning what it means to be human.