I have finished Ender's Shadow. Yesterday, and it's been in my head ever since. I understand now. I understand what I missed, and where I got confused in my previous reading. Because Shadow is a parallel novel, I couldn't help but pick up Ender's Game and read over the last half again as I read Ender's Shadow. I loved the nuances, the differences, the similarities. I loved being able to see Ender form outside of Ender. Sometimes I wish there were a parallel novel to my own life. That which you see. I've been criticized recently of being too self-protective. That deep down I am angry, and vulnerable, and I use that to control and domineer others around me. That's why I have so many relationships that end in failure. I don't discount or negate any of this, but I hope I'm seen in a different light than this when you are around me or think of me. If not, I'm sorry. I'm trying to change.
This is the way I see myself: I am a man who gives everything, even when it seems I have nothing. But in the giving, I discover that I have everything, and still freely give it. Myself. To you. I have nothing more to offer than that, but it is enough; and it is mine to choose to share. I do so willingly and lovingly.
Reading Ender's Shadow has confirmed to me what I already believed. I am, indeed, an Ender. I feel like him. I believe him. I act like him. And having finished Shadow and re-read half of Game, I now see Ender's redemption. Well, rather the lack of a need thereof. He was forced into situations he did not like, made to do things he did not agree with, and in this he did not become evil - he did not act against who it was that he was supposed to be. He simply did the best he could with the knowledge and information he'd been given. Even when he knew they were cheating, they were stacking everything against them, they were "ruining the game." He wanted to give up, to resign, to let them have their way with someone else... but he never truly could. He shouldered everything and marched forward and fulfilled his destiny - to give everything, even with nothing. He was broken, and battered, and terribly alone. And that's what was so heart-wrenching for me. Ender is SO good. Everyone loves him because he loves others. This is made even more apparent when seen through Bean's eyes as he wrestles with why Ender would be this way, why he would want to help the others so much, instead of building himself and those closest to him only.
I'm not usually gushy on this blog, over honest. But I'm feeling rather vulnerable after the last couple of days, so take it while you can. I'm going to reveal some of my inner workings. Behind my happy, go-lucky facade, my big heart and my service to any and all who need it of me... I feel this way all too often. Heavy, alone, and abandoned. I am there for so many... so often... but where do I find that for myself? Who do *I* turn to? Everyone went to Ender, but in whom did he confide? On whom did he lean for support? He had no one. I feel like I don't either - which is part of why I over-compensate so desperately in the relationships I do have. I'm the perpetuator, I'm the instigator. I'm the one who calls to see how your day was. I'm the one who comes over because I haven't seen you in a while (though less so at the present, because of my nigh-isolation). But who does that for me? Who is my respite?
Many of my friends do try, the effort is never wasted on me, but I've never felt complete. I've never been satisfied. Perhaps this stems all the way back to my earliest childhood scars... but if so, why have I not moved on and healed? Lord knows I've had enough therapy...
Peace is another thing I have none of. I am a World Changer, yes, but I am also a struggler. Someone who wrestles, someone who fights, someone who is never in harmony with everyone else. I'm going to share a personal experience... In 2007, I went camping with my Bishop, some of his colleagues, and a few friends. One night around the fire, we were talking about ourselves, our problems, and our struggles.
I stumbled on my words. I didn't know how to spit the truth. Was I even ready to be honest with these people? I forced it out. I was honest. I felt my coming to deal with my feelings was way bigger than anything anyone else said. Do they not have life-shattering trials like me? Were they not honest? Bishop opted them for them to do something for me. It was kind of like a trust fall, except they held me in their arms and rocked me. They even sang a lullaby. Then they set me down after a few minutes. Bishop asked me how I felt. I didn't want to move. My mind wouldn't think. CALM. RELAXED, The thought crashed on me like a breaking wave. I do not feel like this. This has not been a part of my life, this feeling. I could not think of any other times I'd felt like that. Ever. - Personal Journal, vol VII, p. 66; Aug 25th, 2006
I simply fight. Every day of my life. And the fight takes alot out of me, but still I focus on everyone else. Sure, I'm weak and maladaptive and may act controlling sometimes, or be vengeful, or use spite. I'm not perfect. Ender made plenty of mistakes too. But he was still amazing. Absolutely Amazing.
Am I worthy to be called an Ender?
Is that what you see when you look at me? Is that the way you feel when you're around me? I understand Bean's intrigue and arguable "Hero-Worship" for Ender. Does anyone feel this way about me, I wonder. Have I achieved that? Is that why you're so willing to stick with me, by my side, even when I hesitate and balk to let you near me? To see who I really am and how much I really suffer and how alone I really am? Because there is a hole in my heart that I honestly don't know how to fill. No matter who you are, or how close I let you, I don't know if it will ever be enough. And that frightens me...because when it does become more personally intimate, people want to know you feel and believe their love - that it is enough. But for me the swirling abyss of negativity and pain absorb all attempts of love toward me, and I do not feel, or believe. I am simply alone. There are days I wish it to end, so that I can have that feeling again. But most days I'm content to help, and hold, and love others as much as I wish I could be loved myself.
In this way, I, like Ender, can be viewed as Christ-like. In this way, if in no other, Ender's Game can be argued to be "Mormon Literature" as I was arguing in my other post. Ender is in similitude of Christ. I simply didn't get that out of the first reading. But now I see it. I see it. And I believe it. And it makes me love him even more. Ender and Asher Lev are my best friends in the whole, wide world. Because they understand me. On ALL my levels. With EVERYTHING that I deal with. Taking the role of the friend, willing to give all, even when it's myself and nothing more; being envious of the love you receive, of the peace I hear you speak of; content to be the person who suffers all and asks nothing... and gives openly of his love. Now, and always. Even when that will never ever be enough... that is where I stand and how I see. Do you?