Six Days in the Wilderness. No cell-service, no wifi, no escape.

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moon-54671_1280We just got back from a 6-day camping trip with my parents.  We shared a tent-camper with them, so we were in continual contact and communication with them.  No privacy or separation except that which a stroll to the lake would provide.

Did we talk?  Terribly, no.  I tried to initiate conversation about my unbelief a couple times, and both were shot down.  “We’ll talk later,” my dad said.  But we never did.  Silver tried to bring up deeper philosophical discussions more than once.  And each time he was shut down, too.  One of these shut-downs nearly ruined an entire day.  This silence is impossible to break.  And fortresses that cover hearts are impossible to tear down from the outside.

We prayed before every meal.  Well, my mom or dad said the prayer and Silver and I would bow our heads.  I’m not sure what they thought of that.  I never felt safe to ask.  It felt awkward to pray, but it felt more awkward not too.  Some traditions are hard to break.  One evening meal, my mother said the prayer.  She could barely finish from the tears that choked her words.  I felt her pain in knowing her daughter’s amens are different now.

One night, my dad broke out his portable speakers.  “This is for you,” he said.  The band was close to our hearts — he and I discovered them playing at a local state fair once and we’ve followed them ever since.  The singer wrote the lyrics for her dead grandmother: “If you own the night sky and I own the stars, then the moonlight will always be ours.”  My dad told me he thought this song particularly applied to us right now.  Not much more was said about it at all, but I think it was his way of saying that although we are in a difficult time, and things are painful, and death feels more real than before, that we still have our shared moonlight.  I cried myself to sleep that night because of this song.  

Incredible tension, unspoken affliction of the heart written in lines on the faces of my loved ones.  It’s so heavy.

Home now, we are about spend our last evening together before they begin the long journey home.  We will have “the talk” tonight.  Spiders in my stomach have been building for over a week in anticipation for this conversation.  Oh God, (God?) help me.

The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.


  1. Oh, man. This sounds like deliberate psychological torment, and it was completely unfair to you. They cooped you up with them, would not resolve anything, and gave you the cold shoulder. what an awful way to spend a week. You deserve better.

    Until they have come to terms with your unbelief, I suggest you put your foot down and refuse to let them put you in this kind of situation again.


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