Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A Believer's Vindication?

Two-plus years since my last post, and I'm still happily married with a chunky, happy, walking-almost-running 1 year old son. My work is going well: I'm teaching at a local university in addition to managing my client consulting practice, my health is stable (i.e. no new cancer scares), my husband and I consider each other our favorite people in the world, and we have lots of local friends and family who keep our social calendars full.

But something's "off." I'm not quite myself, feeling like on any given day I'm only about 75% present. I'm not depressed, exactly - I still wake up with a smile and laugh plenty throughout the day.

...but I am adrift. What am I doing with my life? Why don't I feel any of that old deep passion I used to have for my work, my hobbies, my relationships, my causes? Why do I struggle to get things done most days, feeling apathetic and procrastinate-y about everything? Did I lose the thread when I lost the grand narrative that animated most of my being for so long?

I feel smaller and more petty than I used to be. I have circled the wagons into a protective cocoon (is this still fallout from my Slapdash Journey to Agnosticism?) and have become less generous, more cynical, more isolated. I've stopped reflecting: I haven't journaled regularly in over three years. I've stopped reading actual books. I've developed Media ADD and have lost untold hours toggling between news websites and Facebook, Big Bang Theory, Private Practice, and House. And I have absolutely nothing to show for any of it.

In short, I've stopped growing.

I know, of course, that mine is an individual path, post-religion, and that others who have tread this ground before me have continued to experience that delicious freedom from the unbearable weight of (incoherent) dogma, judgment, and expectation.

There is some part of me, however, that imagines the just-under-the-surface glee that some believers might feel at seeing an agnostic stumble. See? I can hear them saying. This is the god-shaped vacuum you've heard about your whole life. You're experiencing the absence of God. How does it feel?

Wanna come back?


jennypo said...

The truth is, we all stumble and end up adrift. Do I believe the problem begins and ends with our relationship with, and perhaps concept of, God? Sure I do. But even believing in God, I've still ended up stagnant and not learning. Lots of Christians spend their whole lives there.
God is not waiting to zap you for asking honest questions. Maybe there are people who are eager to see you coming up with less than you went looking for, Slapdash, but they aren't the people who have what you want. I have had that sense of there being something more, and I don't regret spending all that it took to find it.
Maybe it is what you've left behind, and maybe it's not...still, your best chance to find it is to keep asking honest questions and refusing to settle for unsatisfying answers. I do hope that someday you live wild, filled with passion and conviction, and admittedly, I do think those come from knowing God, but I don't think you want to come "back", and I don't think you will find God by going back to where you used to be.
It's good to read your blog again.

Slapdash said...

Hi jennypo!

Thanks for stopping by and for your
thoughts. :)

You're right that stumbling and feeling adrift aren't unique to someone in my position. I certainly had phases like that even while a believer. It's more that I can imagine *some* Christians interpreting this iteration of it as the consequence of letting go of God.

To be honest I still feel a sense of burnout with respect to asking the 'honest questions' - at least in terms of trying to make sense of the Christian version of god.

I do feel as though I might need to find some grander narrative than what I have now (which is...nothing) and in that sense I may start asking questions to help me discover what that grander narrative might be. That feels very different, though, from the search I was on a few years ago - to find Truth. I care a lot less about Truth now...much more about finding something I can live with.

Emily Walsh said...

Hi there, I was just reading up on a few of your posts and had quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks!