Do you remember high school? I don't remember much from my time there (or try not to), but certain things stick out in my mind. And not in a good way.
Lunchtime was particularly painful. It's one of the few situations in life that I've found TV shows actually do a great job of mimicking. You had the jocks at one table and academic overachievers at another (they would be the kids who always raise their hand in class and want to get into the Ivy Leagues). Girls, in particular, all had their own Groups. And if you weren't in their Group, you'd get the Stink Eye if you tried to sit at their table.
(There was a shocking lack of nerds at my school. I think if there had been nerds, then I could have had a Group, too.)
Here's how painful high school was for me: I used to skip lunch entirely. I would wait out those socially awkward 25 minutes in the hallway outside the cafeteria, usually with my nose buried in a book. I had one, maybe two, people I could call friends. But we never seemed to have lunch scheduled at the same time. So I sat by myself, stomach starting to growl, hoping no one would stop and ask what book I was reading. I just wanted to get through the day, honestly. Head down, books crushed against my chest, never making eye contact. For me, if I could make it through the day with as little human contact as possible, I could get out unscathed.
I don't know if the phrase "born again" is right for my situation, but since I can think of no better words, I'll use it. When I was born again a few years ago, when I had not one, but two, amazing spiritual experiences where I knew, without a doubt, that God existed, I was so happy. I felt, above all, that I belonged. I finally had a Group. I could eat lunch with everyone else; I no longer had to sit outside, all alone.
And I felt comforted. Here, I thought, is something bigger than me. Bigger than the world. And He cares for me. He protects me. He's the most amazing Father/Big Brother/Lover/Everything that anyone could ever ask for. I made it, I finally made it: I found true faith.
What are you, Dejah? I finally had an answer, and I was proud of it: I'm a Christian.
x x x x
I can't pinpoint exactly when I lost my faith. It's been quietly slipping away from me over the past year. So quietly, that it's only in the past month or so that I've noticed I'm not the same anymore. Something is missing. Where I was once so sure, now I have only a nagging doubt.
Isn't this the opposite of how it's supposed to work? You face tragedy, your faith wavers, then it grows stronger. That's how it goes, right? Not: You face tragedy, your faith is made stronger, then fades away into the night.
That's how it was, though. When Sunrise died, at the moment of her birth, I felt God's presence in the room. I felt bound to him forever. We could never be separated. He would always be there for me.
Now I feel left behind. I feel I'm supposed to be seeing something, but I just can't. So many of my blog friends are Christian. I admire and respect them, and read their words humbly. So many of them are bereaved mothers, like myself. But when I see their posts about how much God loves all of us, how Good and Great he is...it's like a switch has turned off in my brain, and no matter what I do, I just can't turn it on. My Bible lies, unread, on my bedside table. I haven't set foot in church in months and months. Every time someone says "The Bible tells us..." I'm like "blah blah blah" in my head. Every time I try to pray I start "Dear God, please help me..." but my voice fades and my heart's just not in it. Most of the time what I really I feel like saying is "Dear God, you are a righteous jerk." But my mother always told me, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Thanks, Mom.
I can't say I don't believe in God. I know he's there. I just don't know how much he actually cares for me. For us. For everyone. I have trouble reconciling this crazy world, and us--his crazy children--with his supposed Love for us. I have trouble knowing Jesus. I have trouble seeing his Love.
And I know it seems like I'm just throwing my spiritual encounters with him out the window. I'm not. I still hold and treasure them as gifts, incredibly rare gifts. But they are gifts I'm not quite sure what to do with. And most of all, I'm confused as to their meaning. Why did he come to me? What is he trying to tell me? I feel like I'm failing him by not understanding more completely.
I don't sit at his table anymore. I keep my head down and plunge through this teeming ocean of life as best I can. I keep close that small grain of hope, that one day God and I will meet again, and it will be a beautiful, sweet reunion. But right now, I just don't know what to believe. I'm starving for something, and I don't even know what that something is.
6 months ago