I’ve known you for as long as I can remember.
I once heard there’s “a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” and yes, that’s us, though I doubt it’s what the proverb was talking about. I’ve been close to a lot of people, but you and me? We have quite an attachment.
Looking back, it’s fair to say I’ve treated you pretty well. As a matter of fact, more times than I can count, I’ve put you ahead of anything and everything else. Agreed?
As we were growing up, I tried to make sure you were always at the front of the line. I saw to it that you got the biggest cookie on the plate, the best parking spot, the comfiest chair in any room we entered.
In school, I noticed the little things you liked, and I went after them. You always loved attention, so I did everything in my power to see that you got it. You still like the spotlight, so I’ve maneuvered to keep you in its glare. Now that we have the Internet, I have more tools. I post only the pictures that show you at your very best. Anybody would think you’re living the dream. Have you seen the comments people write about you? When you have struggled or had a hard time, I’ve done my best to keep that our little secret. I’ve tried to make you happy.
Sure, it was a little easier to keep you happy when you were a cute little tyke. A simple temper tantrum got the job done. Then, as we grew older, I had to be a little more discreet. You wanted to keep winning and getting your way—all the while looking humble and unassuming. That gets tricky! Not to mention tiring.
Take marriage, for example. I promised to love and honor my wife, putting her needs ahead of my own, but you constantly insist on being first. Sometimes there’s a little voice in my head in the middle of the night, saying, “Pssst, get up and take care of the baby, dude. Let the lady sleep.” I know it’s not your voice; you hate struggling out of bed at 3:00 a.m. You speak up and say, “Pretend you’re still asleep,” and, more often than not, I comply and put you before her.
Me, I know how you can get defensive, but you have had a tendency not to give me all the information. Walking through the sporting-goods store? Not your finest hour. I love to see you excited, but we should have taken a look at the budget first.
As a matter of fact, you never seem to care about dull stuff like bills and consequences and what happens tomorrow. I’ve said more than a few harsh words on your behalf to certain people, and you never warned me about the mess. You never told me I couldn’t un-say what I’ve said.
I love you, Me. But I can’t keep living for you. You always insisted that if I’d just keep you happy, then I’d be happy—as simple as that. But you know what? It’s not as simple as that. It never has been.
Me, I’ve let you be in control and sit in the driver’s seat, but it’s clear you can’t be trusted. You keep insisting you know the way we should go, but it always seems to be a dead end. I’ve looked into some other options, and I have decided to begin a journey down a different path. It’s narrow and difficult and not many choose it, but it leads to real and abundant life. However—and there is no easy way to say this—I can’t take this path if I bring you along.
So, Me, this is the end of you.
Kyle Idleman, The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-down Ways of Jesus Begins (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2015).