My husband (we’ll call him Silver) has left Christianity along with me, but his journey has been one of freedom, and mine, of grief. At least it has been for the first several months. Not being able to take our closeted status anymore, we decided the other day to tell some good friends where we stand. Terrified of their response (though they were the perfect ratio of close enough to care but removed enough from our situation not to be terribly offended– they have no horse in our race), but desperate for the freedom confession provides, we sat down on couches in their living room and told them our journey into atheism.
One of the results of this conversation was my realization of how different of places Silver and I are presently in. Label both as atheism, sure, but we seem worlds apart from each other. We spoke with one another about this on our drive home, and he described it with the perfect analogy:
“Christianity is the nest. You follow me everywhere. So, you watched me jump from the nest and fly. And you did too. But instead of flying, you fell. Now you are laying on the ground, wounded, with a broken wing.”
Also describing it this way, “Like a butterfly cut of of its cocoon, you were cut out before you were strong enough to fly.”
As much as I describe my journey as being my own, and that Silver provided a safe place for me to question my own thoughts, it would be false to say that his change in belief didn’t influence mine. In fact….. I think I am just far to influential period. I have always believed whatever I believe in any given moment because it was taught to me by someone that had credibility in my life. This reality is probably true for everyone to an extent, but thinking for myself is an incredibly difficult task for me. I may be able to solidly analyze any given subject or idea, but I do it through a lens borrowed from another. I subconsciously think, “What would _____ think about this?” And then I proceed to adopt his/her viewpoints, or what I think they would be, in my mind. I allow myself to far too easily be discipled.
“What would Jesus do?”
I feel acutely aware of my current total lack of identity. Who am I? What do I like? What do I believe, about, anything? Though I quickly turn to the perspectives of those that currently have credibility in my life, my mind is silent with any original thoughts.
I have never, ever, had moments of “What would I do?”
What an entirely foreign concept to me.