It’s been three years since I acknowledged, out loud, my doubts about Christianity. I began reading many of the blogs in my blogroll long before I gave credence to them. First it was just my particular flavor of Christianity I questioned – Southern Baptist. It wasn’t long before I attempted to embrace a more progressive, liberal, Christianity. I made a brief stop there before ultimately realizing none of that was satisfying either.
It had been a year before that that I filed for divorce from my husband of nineteen-and-a-half years. People who know me would say that I’ve turned my back on God because of that – that I’d become an agnostic atheist because of the bad circumstances in my life. That I was running from God and that I just wanted to live like there isn’t a God because that’s easier. I didn’t like God’s rules and so I ditched my faith.
Those arguments are tired and they show a lack of knowledge of the journey that I’ve actually been on. In fact most people wouldn’t know that immediately after filing for divorce I became even more fundamentalist than I had been before. Ugh, the flashbacks of the insanity of it all. I remember sitting in my closet with the door closed, head covered(like a good Christian woman), praying silently, crying out to God for answers, and obsessively reading my Bible.
In my quest for truth I began asking lots of questions; wondering why the Holy Spirit had so many different answers to the same questions. I queried a woman of faith of whom I had deep respect. I told her I had questions and that I was experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul. She had no answers either, only condescension and lofty admonitions. She and others gave me stern warnings about such questions, telling me, “I know you have questions and you’re seeking out the answers but I’d hate to see you fall out from under the umbrella of God’s protection.”
At the time I didn’t have a good answer to that. I was confused and my world seemed to be spinning at a break neck pace. My reply was, “If this is God’s protection, He can keep His umbrella.” The thing was I hadn’t abandoned my faith, I was just trying to figure out, within Christianity(of course), which one was true – which one was right. I had no idea what path that would lead me down. The more I sought, the more I was told what a slippery slope I was on. And they were right. I slipped right down the slope to freedom. At first I was very afraid but eventually I learned to just breathe, to just be in the moment, to enjoy the ride. I’ve come a long way in these last few years.
I have a better answer to the admonition now: I can stay under the imaginary umbrella and get drenched or I can step out from under it and play in the rain. I choose to play in the rain.