Passion for Christ was an understatement – my relationship with Him was everything. Everything. He was my motivation for life, for death. For making healthy choices, for becoming the most solid, well-rounded, compassionate person I could be. He was the Fire that refined me and the spring water that cooled me. He was the Sunlight that grew me and the fragrant grass in which I rested. He was my Shepherd, my Teacher, my Guide, my Rabbi. He was my Friend, my Confidant, my Comfort. He was my Counselor, my Father, my Authority. He was my Power to release the captive in me and in others. He was the Freedom to break any bondage. He was the Joy that made me laugh, the unconditional Love that gave me Hope, the purpose for everything that was worth anything. He was the cause of my tears when He moved within the deep places of me, evoking great life change that made me more whole. And He was the hand that caught the tears caused by external, painful circumstances. He was my contentment and my desire for more. He was my paradox and my understanding. He motivated my studying, my knowledge, my wisdom. He taught me how to love, to be selfless, to serve. Because He first loved me.
Personal relationship became the mantra for Christianity throughout my participation within it. And that mantra realized itself within me as blatantly, boldly, and authentically as one may ever deem possible. Jesus was Everything to me. And my life was His greatest witness, or at least my greatest desire was to be so.
Tragedy alone can describe the end of such a love, of such a rich, vibrant relationship. Breaking-up with God sounds so trivial; God dying sounds so Nietzsche; following the evidence sounds so academic; losing faith sounds so vague; and becoming atheist sounds so bitter. While I can at least partially identify with each of those phrases, my tragedy was just…. Human. Natural, freeing, but tragic. It has taken me months to even associate the word “freedom” with my leaving Christianity (ouch), but somewhere within the depths of me I believe that all loss comes with some degree of freedom. A child loses her favorite toy, she is now freed from it. A wife loses her husband, she is now free from the marital relationship. Freedom in no way negates the pains of those losses, and there are very many situations in which nobody would trade such a loss for the freedom from it. Christianity was this for me. I am still currently in this stage of loss, and I can honestly say that if I had any control over what I believed, I would so choose not to lose this. To lose Christianity is to lose myself, entirely. My identity is within it. I have to start from scratch in discovering who I am outside of God, but rather than feeling excited with such a fresh start, I feel completely overwhelmed and alone by it. Who is there to walk with me through such a deep, deep creative process? Nobody. Just me. And this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of all, that I am alone.