Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Questioning

My faith is an enormous hurdle in discovering my own authenticity.  Recently, I've realized I've become the very church-going hypocrite I despised as a teenager.  Probably more surprising is the realization that, perhaps, they weren't ever hypocrites at all.  Years of feeling justified for being turned off by the church are suddenly being challenged by the concept that, perhaps, its really all about a judgment I made and stubbornly stuck to.

Maybe I needed that as justification to override the guilt manifested by the fact that the message just wasn't cutting it for me.  There's too much that seems contrived; boxed-up in traditions and a series of dos and don'ts.  Thirty two years old and I am finding myself this Sunday morning reluctant to go to church -- despite the peace and hope and love its brought me at certain times throughout the year.

I don't know what I believe.  I continue, when I remember, to draw on an invisible energy -- "praying" in the moments I realize I have no control.  And I certainly have come to understand that I truly do not have control over anything, which leads me to assume (logically) that there are greater forces at work.  In the last few months I have discovered an underlying peace in the ebb and flow of life.  Not that it makes happy times happier or sad times any easier - just that there's a very consistent peace present that reminds me tomorrow is another day; that I can't predict where I'll be in the next hour or week, let alone the next year.  I know there is a divine presence in all things that embodies the fundamental ideals of Christ - peace, grace, hope and love.  I believe it to be a perfectly benevolent driving force; without judgment, constant, dynamic, and static all at the same time.

That's all I know I believe, and I'm coming to question whether the Christian tradition is the place where I can continue to practice my faith.  I'm coming to question whether my faith is something that warrants a tradition or practice at all.  When I am sitting in church finding it difficult to accept the full message as truth, I immediately begin to think about exploring different traditions.  "To find a better fit," I will say to myself.  But, in reality, the thought of moving my faith from one box to another seems far more unappealing than just leaving it in the current box.

And there's just all kinds of stuff that comes up around this.  The guilt ingrained in me by the Christian faith from the time I was a child, my mother's disappointment and exclamation that "I can't just believe whatever I want", and, of course, there's him.

In some ways, the final point of contention between us was that faith.  It was the only thing, by his own admission, that he didn't know how to meet me half way on.

What happens to these last twelve challenging months when I begin to dismantle my faith?  I think this whole journey, perhaps, is all some sort of existential panic attack.  I feel like, at every triumph, is another moment of being stripped down philosophically and challenged by my own perception of truth.  Am I manifesting all this as a form of some sort of self-serving prophecy?  What is wrong with me?

This has to be some sort of existential crisis.  I don't feel depressed, per se, just overwhelmed.  And I'm overwhelmed by this sweeping desire to live - to experience and love and laugh and cry.  I want to do something but I don't know what to do.  I lie awake at night because I don't want to be sleeping.  I am antsy and anxious and excited and overstimulated.  I don't know what I should be doing at this moment, I just have the frantic sense that I should be doing something.

I want to live.  To be filled up.  I don't know where this is coming from but it is flooding me with all sorts of fears and anxieties.

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