It’s been over a month since my last post. I think that’s the longest stretch since I started this blog. Let my silence be a demonstration of the difficulties life can be. I want to say, “for people who lose faith,” but I think it’s so much more complex than that — and everyone goes through hard stuff.
I’ve spoken many times throughout my posts about the newness of freedom and life and joy I have felt as an unbeliever. This remains. But it can also be so, so hard.
Many people in their lives desire a fresh start. They talk about it and perhaps even make a major move or job change in order to accomplish this. But for me, it wasn’t a choice about wanting to start anew. I was forced to start my life nearly completely from scratch. I say forced because I do not consider living inauthentically and being dishonest with myself and the world a real choice for me. I could have continued to live a lie about my beliefs as a Christian and live a trying life in a third-world country as a missionary trying to “get people saved.” I could have. But that is no life.
The alternative, as I have pointed out over the months, has been costly. Being honest, an authentic human being, free, has severed relationships with family and friends. It has erased my community. It has burned bridges with the hundreds of people, friends and strangers that became friends all across the country that supported us financially and in prayer throughout our missions journey. It has rendered my academic education at a Christian University nearly meaningless. In fact, it has revealed the very purpose, the single-greatest motivating factor for every choice in my life from the time I was a child until just over a year ago, as misguided.
We depended upon our faith not only for our well-being, but for our very sustenance, shelter, protection, and finances as we were employed because of it. Loss of faith = loss of allllll of that.
I’ve mentioned much of this before. But it was become so starkly and obviously difficult these past couple of months to live with. And part of my motivation for writing this post in particular isn’t for the sympathy of my readers but to perhaps reach out to others that may be in my position. For those that the loss of faith has meant of loss of nearly everything else. For those whose beliefs have forced them to start from scratch with their lives.
It’s hard. It’s really really hard. It’s unstable and scary. It’s not having any means to buy a new car when our only one broke down last week. It’s starting your very own new business as your only means of income, but not being able to recuperate the initial start-up costs typical of the first year of business. It’s not eating your favorite meal for several months because frugality trumps luxury. Especially when you think first about your little girl and the second one on the way.
A lot of people struggle. A lot of people live with the income we do. A lot, LOT of people have much less than we do. This isn’t a pity party. It’s addressing my new reality, a reality I’ve never lived in before having grown up in upper-middle class America never wanting for anything.
And yet, as depressing and frustrating and completely childlikely helpless I feel, there is still an inner happiness within me. Like a single tea-light candle glowing within me. I remember a phrase I loved as a Christian: “No amount of darkness can overcome even the smallest amount of light.” I associated dark with Satan and evil, and light with Christ and his work in humans. Yet, even without the spirituality fairytale associated I still find this phrase a potent symbol in my life. I am a human, a mother, a wife, a friend, an entrepreneur, a humanitarian. I am resilient, courageous, driven. I live to drink in and create beauty. I still find moments of sipping tea or hearing my toddler laugh to be the rain on my heart’s soil.
Life is hard. Life is painful. But there is still so much to live for, to smile at. Life itself, the real, raw, organic, bloody biology miracle of human life, is in and of itself the greatest Light. And no darkness shall overcome it.