I've been meaning to do this for a while, but every time I think about sitting down to write things just get in my way. Or I get distracted (which isn't very hard to do these days).
The past few weeks I've been really working through a lot of different questions. Many of them centered around my beliefs and the why's behind them. It has been a very painful, but revealing process and I think I will be the better for it when all is said and done. There were times when I had questions without answers that indicated a point of view I had not previously considered; and there were times when something else would come up (a discovery here, an off-handed comment there, etc.) that would swing the pendulum back in the opposite direction.
I was on some type of subconscious train ride that felt like at an moment would go off track and end in disaster.
And now there is silence. Silence in the best possible way.
It is the kind of silence you want when you are alone in the woods, or in your room, or sitting on a random park bench by yourself. That peaceful, restful silence. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my heart, and I begin to understand how to breath again.
All of this really started back when a friend of mine decided that he wasn't going to be a Christian anymore. I guess it was about 10 months ago.
The news was sudden and came without warning. I felt like I had been punched in the gut, or like I was hit by a train. And, I didn't know it at the time, but I felt betrayed. I had great respect for this friend (still do), spent several nights seeking his counsel in college, and always felt a type of connection that I had never felt with any of my previous acquaintances or friends. His intellect and ability to look at things in an unbiased way was inspiring. And, perhaps, because of these things, I had elevated him in my mind. It only makes sense for it to hurt.
It was awkward to talk to him. I felt like I had lost a part of myself when he chose to be an atheist. However, we are still friends, thankfully. While I disagree with more than I have in the past I respect his ability to make the decisions he made because I know it was not an easy journey for him.
It still isn't I suppose.
Regardless, that singular event sent me careening down a path I did not expect to take. I did not even realize I was on this path until much later.
My path began with just trying to understand the why. Whenever something happens, specifically significant things that affect me negatively, that is the first question that comes to my mind. Why?
I explored this question with my friend, with my wife, and even when I was by myself. Just short of screaming the question at the dead walls. I never got an answer that satisfied that question. It burned in me and spurred me onward.
I became a recluse to this friend. I didn't want to lose his friendship, but I was having a hard time emotionally coping with it all. So our conversations were short and shallow. Truthfully, sometimes, they still are but the progress of healing is there and I'm sure one day I'll be able to talk to him once again like I used to.
In the background to all the mental and spiritual exploration there were a lot of things working their way into my physical life. In October I had lost my job. The first real job that I had ever truly enjoyed. And with that job loss, went any progress I had made to getting all of my bills taken care of (including student loans which had been kicking my butt for almost 2 years at this point). So, I feel like it was safe to say that I felt like I got kicked in the gut again.
It was just one thing after another.
Yet, I was happy for the most part. I had an adoring wife, friends, and a great and supportive family.
At the same time, however, there was this underlying implication to "man-up" or "get over it". Never spoken directly, just hovered implicitly at every encounter.
I felt like I was at war, mostly with myself, and I was losing. By the end of the year I felt trapped and beaten. I had slumped into a kind of depression that I am just now realizing I had.
More thoughts to come.
Grace and Peace