Friday, December 15, 2017

A Flaw Most Fatal

For thousands of years, mankind has been plagued by imperfections. They all end in heartache, unless one makes an effort to change his course. There's a flaw in particular I feel I need to talk about, and it can be summed up in four simple words:

Taking everything for granted.

It is synonymous with "ungrateful" and "unappreciative." Like the vicious predator it is, it lies in wait, and pounces at the opportune moment. We think we're above it, that we've escaped its deadly clutches. It's happy when we think that, for it is merely biding its time. And when it strikes, you can expect a fatality.

It seems to have a favorite target, and that's people. We live our lives under the optimistic illusion that our family and friends will stick around forever. It's not our reality. The fatal flaw lulls us into a slumber of security before unleashing the nightmare. And beating in the heart of that terror is a sad truth: family and friends don't . . . last . . . forever.

I'm not even just talking about death. Life happens. People move. Relationships get rocky. There's a host of reasons as to why others in our world ebb and flow like the tide. But what TobyMac sings in "Gone" is something that occurs all too often: "They say you never know what you got 'til it's gone."

Why people? Life is all about relationships. Humanity is hardwired to crave them. We could lose our job, home, money, or possessions, yet if we have people, we have hope and something to live for. Without others, everything else seems petty. Our vision morphs into a bleak gray, and our foe laughs at our despair.

I've been hit by the fatal flaw not once, not twice, but three times this year. It first attacked January 4th. I've probably mentioned this before, but I used to visit a site called the LEGO Message Boards. It was a place where LEGO lovers from all over the world could hang out, write stories, roleplay, et cetera. I considered it my digital home. Because I had next to no friends in "real life" (I really don't care for that term), the vast majority of my friendships were on the MBs. I have many fond memories of the people I knew there and the fun times we shared.

Things had already started spiraling in the summer of 2016. As I entered the workforce and then college in the fall, I was spending less time on the MBs. I had fallen prey to the assumption that the site would be awaiting my return next summer, and I wasted precious time on frivolous things.

The fateful day came knocking, and the floor was ripped out from under me. Never had the thought crossed my mind that my home-away-from-home would be taken away from me. I had until March 30th to make up for lost time, although the last month was without the ability to post. Time was not in my favor.

I now imagine it like I'm a sentry on a watchtower. I was pretty faithful for a long time--since fall of 2012. But then my eyes wandered, and when I finally looked back, a swarm of enemies was closing in. I had little time to prepare. Even now, the memory of it still stings.

Although I know you guys don't think so, there are some who might say that those weren't "real" friendships, because they were online. They sure as heck felt real to me. While interactions take place digitally, there are real people involved, and I think we need to see those times still have value. Yes, the relationships aren't the same as face-to-face ones, but it doesn't mean they don't matter or are unimportant.

Miniature rant aside, I was still reeling from the first blow when the second landed. I knew this one was coming, but that knowledge didn't lessen the impact. It was at the end of college, and I suspected that I would never--or rarely ever--see any of my classmates again. I have run into a few of them and emailed a couple others, but almost no lasting friendships have come out of my college year. Not yet, anyway.

To me, that's kinda disappointing. I had hoped the relationships developed would be longer lasting. We accomplished so much as a team. We spent so many hours together. The ending to it all feels anticlimactic, in some regards. Maybe my expectations were just too high, and I didn't see the reality of the whole situation. Regardless, what's done is done, and I can only hope I'll gain at least a few friends from that year.

Bearing the scar of the MBs and the lack of friendships from college, I began my new normal life. And before I knew it, the fatal flaw tricked me into thinking everything was okay. I had managed to connect with several of my MBs friends. There was nothing to worry about. It was as if I began to see myself as untouchable and forgot the lessons I'd learned. The sentry was distracted again, leaving himself open to another brutal assault from the enemy.

The third time was a double whammy. Part one happened on December 5th, when I discovered that LEGO was shutting down its galleries. I had wondered when it was going to happen, because it started feeling like a plant left unattended. But that meant I was possibly going to lose all contact with two of my closest friends. I was frustrated with myself for having wasted my time again.

Part two went straight for the heart. The sentry, while focused on his foes, received a dagger in the back. I've chatted with two of my best friends, whom I've "adopted" as sisters, on Google Hangouts since the MBs were closed. Last month, one of them seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. I eventually started worrying, so I messaged her last Friday.

The next day, I got a response, one I had to read more than once. She was going off the internet  . . . completely. No more Google Hangouts. No more social media. Just  . . . gone. She claimed it wasn't personal, but how could I not feel like I was at fault? How could I be exempt from any guilt, questioning what I had or hadn't done?


The salt in the wound? She seemed colder . . . withdrawn . . . impersonal. Like our friendship hadn't mattered that much. I have no idea if that was her intention, but that was my perception. I was given virtually no details as to why she was disappearing.

It shook me up bad. Real bad. I was in a daze of heartache, a putrid blend of deep sorrow and concern with a side of frustration and guilt. How could she leave me at the drop of a hat, seemingly without a second thought or sounding like she cared? I wondered if I was the problem. I hadn't fully appreciated her friendship; I took it for granted.

In this moment, I recognized the terrible imperfection of man. And I began to despise it with a venomous loathing. I'm sick of the fatal flaw, the lunatic cycle, the wretched game!




Can I be real here? Even more real than I have been already? I know that God promises to never leave me, that He's got plans to prosper me, that He will turn all things good in the end. But with my jaded, mortal eyesight, I can't see the endgame from where I'm standing right now. I just want to see Him . . . feel Him . . . hear Him. Those feelings aren't everything, though, and I have to trust, in spite of them.

There are those who would accuse me of turning to the internet to vent about my "Year of the Fatal Flaw" and get attention and pity. But as much as this is a raw, brutally honest rant (and trust me, it's been cathartic for me), it's not just about me. It's about all of us. It's a warning and a reminder.

I implore you, stop undervaluing the important people in your life. The idea that you'll always have them on this side of heaven is cute, but it's like a mirage in the desert: it never lasts, no matter how much you want it to.

2017 has certainly taught me a lot about one of our most vile flaws. A lesson, however, is no good if you don't take something away and put it into practice. You'll soon forget it and will have to learn it again, and again, and again. As Mr. Nezzer's grandma says in An Easter Carol, "A lesson learned is soon returned. A lesson lived is wisdom gived." (Bad grammar, yes, but that doesn't make it a moot point.)

I have determined I need to change my subconscious attitude. I'm done with being unappreciative of and ungrateful for my family and friends. Look what it's brought me! Nothing but regret and pain. I would never wish upon anyone what I've dealt with this past year.

No, in order to change, I have to make a conscious step in the right direction. I want to show my loved ones that I care about them, that I'm thankful for them, that they mean the world to me. One of the best ways to do that is to discover which of the five love languages--quality time, physical touch, gifts, words, and acts of service--is theirs, then use it on them. Online relationships might need a bit of creativity, but it's not impossible.

In a perfect world, doing this would be easy and have amazing results, where no one leaves and I would never be hurt again. But the world isn't perfect. Doing this will be hard at times. Results won't always be the best. People will still leave. I will have no choice but to tangle with the crushing hurt.

Despite all this, I cling with war-torn, bloodied hands to a steadfast belief.

Wounds can be healed.

Blows can be softened.

Souls can be mended.

Because I have an eternal Friend in my corner, who gives me the strength to keep fighting and the hope to get back on my feet.

Because Jesus is mightier than the fatal flaw.


"I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order." (John 16:33, The Voice)


  1. As the remaining sister mentioned, I feel it too.... I'm still hurting..... I wish I had your conviction, big brother, to work at getting better...

    1. It isn't easy for me either . . . But we'll both get through this. Hopefully we'll come out stronger, and with our sister by our side again.

  2. I'm sorry that you've had to struggle with relationships recently. I'll keep you in my prayers. Those are some of the hardest things - they can hurt so deeply. However, you are completely right. This post was very convicting for me, and I'm glad you put it up. It's so easy to take everything for granted, when, in reality, all we have is temporary. I've learned that lesson several times, but it hasn't stuck fully yet. Thanks so much for your courage in posting this. Please know that other people go through the same things, and will benefit from your honesty. And, this post was written so beautifully. Keep up the good work, and God bless!

    1. Thank you. All prayers are much appreciated. :) I'm happy to know that the post resonated with others. We may think we're alone in our battles, but there many people who wrestle with the exact same stuff. You're welcome, and thank you. God bless you too!

  3. I am just so sorry about all you've had to go through. Losing people is probably the worst feeling in the world. When I was 13 my best friend moved, and though we definitely keep in touch, it's not the same as having her here. Just this year, my other bestie moved extremely far away. I've had a friend pass away, friendships fade, others just not last. It's hard. It's so, so hard. I hate you're going through this. But, as I've mentioned before, I think it's so beautiful how you're taking these struggles and turning them into blessings for others. You're taking a stand, letting God teach and use you. And that's so encouraging!

    I often fail really bad at keeping up with friendships and doing for others. This has inspired me to do more, to be better at keeping up with people. I get so caught up in my own thing I DO take my loved ones for granted. But that's no way to live.

    Thank you for this reminder. I needed this! Because the people in our lives ARE the most important things we have, and we should never let that slip away for shallow things.

    I hope things will get better for you. You're in my prayers!

    1. Wow . . . that sounds really tough. I don't what I'd do if my friends moved or passed away. I'm sorry for your loss. I feel like if I go through a difficult time, I'm obligated to share what I've learned through it to help others. Iron sharpens iron, right? Why should we not share wisdom with others?

      I want to do better as well. I never want to forget just how valuable my loved ones are to me. You're right, it isn't.

      You're welcome. You summed it up perfectly.

      Things are getting better, so thanks for your prayers. :)

  4. I really don’t know what to say.

    I knew you were going through a hard time what with the LMBs closing.

    But I never knew it was this horrible. And I wish I knew that way back when it happened. So I could try to find a way to help you.

    I’m so sorry, brother.

    You’re so right, we need to appreciate life. Our family. Our friends. Especially online friends. They can go away SO fast. I believe you totally with saying that online friendships ARE real. I hate it whe people say they aren’t because... all my friendships are online. If it wasn’t for them, I’d have no friends outside of our family.

    And this year, lots of my friends have quit and left me behind. I had mistake of not saying goodbye on a post quick enough. She never saw it, I don’t think.

    Thanks for this post. I really needed to know this about you and it’s encouraging.

    *hugs* Again. I’m sorry. And you’re not alone.

    1. You don't need to apologize, sis. I kept it to myself for fear of no one understanding. But I guess in the end, it was kinda silly of me.

      Yeah, online relationships are important to. I hope you'll be able to make some friends in person too. :) I also hope that, if you still feel pain from your friends quitting, things will look up for you soon.

      You're welcome. *hugs back* No, we are never alone in our struggles

  5. Hey, brother. I second Lost--I knew it was rough but didn't know the extent of it. *hugs* There's not a lot I can say except that I'm in your corner, and I'm hear to talk, or to pray, whenever you want. It will get better. <3

    1. It's because I never talked about it. I kept a lot of that stuff to myself out of fear. *hugs back* It will, and it has gotten better. Meeting my NZ friends has helped a lot. :)

  6. Ouch. This hit hard.
    I didn't realise my leaving would hurt you so much... Please know that it was not my intention to cause you pain.
    I just got to a point where all ties had to be severed.
    And I let go.
    Mayhap i shouldn't have. But I needed to move on, from everything. And in my selfish insecure mind I thought I would not be missed, especially not by those on the other side of the world.
    I am truly sorry. I cannot return, not yet, but it would be far to cold of me to read of this hurt and not reply. Maybe we will talk again, who knows. And i cannot heal the hurt but I pray this consolation may patch the wound.
    It truly wasn't you, or SSTO.
    It was entirely me.
    Forgive me, brother.

    1. Sis . . . is it really you? *almost starts crying and gives you a big bro hug* Thank you. Thank you for posting here. You are most definitely missed.

      I do not know your situation, but I pray things will get easier and better for you. And I cling tightly to the hope that you'll be able to return someday soon. Until then, know that your brother has your back.

      There is not a thing in the world that can stop me from forgiving you. And please, forgive me too. For doubting you and becoming bitter. I never should have.

      'Til we meet again . . . love you. Forever and always. *gives one more hug*