There is beauty in losing your faith… Part I
Growing up I didn’t have a strong foundation in faith. We attended church on the “important holidays” and that was about it. My mother grew up in a church, from what I’ve been told, so every once in a while she would feel convicted, I suppose, and become manic about God and our seemingly complacent attitudes toward the big guy in the sky. I now liken it to when I’ve washed a bunch of clothes and have been living out of the baskets in the laundry room for a week and a half followed by going on a tear of cleaning throughout the house to make up for my lack. Within those times she would randomly say “we are having Bible study.” To which a collective “huh” would resound throughout the three-bedroom row home. Were it 2017, we would probably say “girl, bye” because it would literally come from nowhere and have zero direction. We would appease for swiftness and minimal pain only to go back to being heathens again for a few weeks or months until she realized the metaphoric pile of unfolded laundry mounting to wag its judgmental finger at her inconsistency in leading us in a Christian life. The quintessential “lukewarm” behavior she was admonished against in her childhood Baptist upbringing.
In addition to the occasional dining room Bible reading mostly covering the “scary” parts of the Bible, we attending CATHOLIC SCHOOL. *slaps forehead* Anyone who has ever attended Catholic School knows it is a complete mindfuck. Our parents’ reasoning for this had less to do with Catholicism, Christ, God, uniforms, saddle shoes, and perfect handwriting but more to do with the failing public school system in our city. So atop the infrequent Baptist Church visits and traumatic Bible stories that left us feeling unworthy of God’s love, we experienced theology classes making us feel dirty and defiant in our adolescent human experience. FUN!
Fast forward to the Fall of 2001, when not only was my grandmother diagnosed with cancer, my 41 year old father who lived states away had his first heart attack. These were the times a faith-based community would have come in handy. When my grandmother eventually passed mid-winter 2002, I walked away from God. I cursed God. I cursed my mother for pitching such a cruel thought to me. I cursed the establishment and anyone who promoted the obvious myth that my pain was a part of God’s plan. I blamed my loss and assumed unanswered prayers on all of the above and I was done with dipping my toe in the water purposed to “cleanse” because I felt betrayed and abandoned.
In a previous writing, I speak on my coming to understand what I call “The Jesus Concept.” To avoid a chronological literary display of my “being of the world” (hate that phrase), I will simply state that my understanding the story of Jesus and God’s supreme love for me didn’t fully blossom until the Winter 2016. Anyone reading this who knows me personally may be shocked because I attended a mega-Church and served in several ministerial positions from 2005 through 2011. I was there but I was just practicing the motions like a liturgical dance to gain applause from the congregation instead of reverencing and pouring out my soul in adoration to the Father. It happens. People fake relationships all the time and they on’t eeen know it *Rick Ross grunt*
So on we go through becoming a mother and a wife and a mother for the second time, in that order. I moved in a way that I thought I was supposed to without any real connection or understanding of what the story of Christ stood to convey. How in God’s name was I ever to be an example to my children when I spent my days and weeks in a sheepish rallying based on ideologies and principles that I personally did not understand? The question rang louder as time went on. I ended up rebelling. Here is the part where you as the reader may say to yourself “well, duh” because well, duh.
The sheepish rallying didn’t stay contained in my spiritual life. As the years passed it became clear that I hadn’t had a plan of my own for my life. I was an adult in an actual game of dress up with a bossy older sibling/cousin/friend who I sought to please by wearing what they said I looked best in. In 2014, I found myself at a crossroads of “this shit is horrible” and “everyone is going to hate me if I put on the Tinker Bell wings with the Little Mermaid fin…”
Just so you know, it gets worse before it gets better…