According to my father, when I was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck 4 times and tied in a knot.  To the amazement of the doctors and my parents, I was breathing fine, and my face was pink and healthy.  When I’m at my lowest, he reminds me of this story to tell me that there is a reason God wanted me alive.  He reminds me that no matter what I think, my life has a purpose.

I used to be a fervently religious person.  And I don’t mean that in a negative way.  It’s sad that I have to qualify that statement, but I don’t mean that I was out proselytizing or standing on corners with street signs condemning others.  I went to church every Sunday, sang in the choir, and actively participated in bible study, religious education, and youth group.  I felt that I had a purpose.  I felt that I belonged to something bigger than myself and I felt that I always tried to treat my neighbour as myself, because wasn’t that the whole point?  As I got older, certain things just stopped making sense.  I couldn’t see why there was division in religion at all, and why certain friends of mine would get upset regarding our religious differences.  I was Catholic, they were Baptist, but we could still be friends?  “Love your neighbour as yourself” does not have qualifications.  There aren’t any exceptions to the rule.  At least that’s how it should be and how I believe it to be in my heart.

The first pivotal moment in my crisis of faith happened when I was a senior in high school.  I was president of the youth group, we had just gone on a pilgrimage to see the pope, college was right around the corner, and I thought I had it all figured out.  Then my best friend and boyfriend at the time, came out of the closet.  It was hard for me to accept, but even harder for him to deal with.  Like me, he was Catholic, and we belonged to the same church.  His mother had given him books on how to “treat” homosexuality and how to “turn back” into being straight.  He was so fractured and torn, and I didn’t know how to help him.

The sacristy of our church was open quite late, so that people could come there and reflect on their faith and pray at all hours.  The church itself was beautiful, cut into a hillside, and full of absolutely breath-taking stain glass windows.  He and I went to the church together one night, and settled in the hush of the candlelight, he burst into tears.  His mother told him how he was no longer allowed or welcome in the church because of his “choice”.  And he looked at me with tears in his eyes and asked me a question that I still don’t know how to answer.  “How can the same God who made me this way turn his back on me?”  I didn’t understand.  I just held him as he cried.

I still couldn’t separate faith from the church.  In my mind, surely if I stopped supporting the Catholic church, that meant I didn’t believe in God.  It meant that I couldn’t believe in God, because according to the church, God turned his back on people like my best friend.

Fast forward 15 years or so, and I’m even more confused.  I don’t go to church anymore, and don’t even talk about my faith.  Most of my friends are atheist, agnostic, or other non-Christian, and some are very open in their condemnation of all things religion.   One of these people is my husband.  We agree to disagree on the subject, but his words still hurt when he condemns people who still believe in some “space pixie in the sky”.

On our road trip, I had this really clear vision of my mortality.  Since I wasn’t sure I believed in an afterlife anymore, what would that mean for me when I die?  The thought is too big and too scary to handle in just one blog post.  But I really don’t have an answer.  Will my life mean nothing?  What is my purpose in life?  Why do I exist at all?  What is the point?

When I had religion, these questions had answers.  I’m here to live the best life possible, to better myself for the next life to come.  But if we’re only here as an accident, as my beloved seems to believe, then what is the point at all?  From a biological perspective, I’m failing my purpose since I’m not having kids like everyone else is.  I don’t know if we can…ever.  Our evolution dies with us.  But that whole topic is a subject for another day.

For the past 6 months, I feel like I’ve just been existing.  Getting up, going to work, coming home,  eating, and sleeping.  I’m losing my hair, and it’s coming out in big clumps.  I don’t know why that’s happening, but it really doesn’t help my already tenuous grasp on sanity.  It’s just hair. I get that.  It grows back.  I don’t know why I mentioned that, I guess sanity is out the window.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments of happiness, sure, and moments of contentment. I wish I could lift this veil of sadness and anxiety and learn to see the sunshine again.

This started as talking about my crisis of faith, but kind of explores the root of it all.  Call it depression.  Call it whatever.  But I feel like I’m in a crisis, and in that black hole, and I can’t see the sunshine.  I can’t even let anyone help pull me out, and I don’t want to pull anyone else with me.  It is exhausting that I have to keep pretending that I am just like everyone else.

Advertisements