I’ve written a lot on here, regrettably, about my anger towards the church over the past year. As some of you know who have been following this blog for a while, I actually ended up leaving the church about a year or so ago, because in those days I felt as if I was being judged not only for who I was, but how I was choosing to live my own life.
I guess with all of the anticipatory grief I was experiencing at that time, the feeling of being an animal cornered by its predator was starting to feel smothering. There was no way I was going to be told how to live my life or be molded into a person I wasn’t. So, I left. But something over the past month or so has been making me reevaluate my life and the choices I made over the past 2 years.
What I’ve come to realize is this: the people I spent so much time and energy rebelling away from, feeling hurt by and being angry at weren’t actually who I was mad at. These people, who I still love dearly by the way, were just the messengers.
Since I was 17 I considered and called myself a Christian. I served in ministry, devoted my life to the church and God, but I realized over the past month that those 6 or 7 years were never really faced with the amount of pain, grief and loss I experienced when I was 24. I can see now that during those 6 or 7 years the little bumps in the road that almost veered me into a ditch were nothing compared to the gigantic road block I hit once my Grandma had her stroke and heart attack. I don’t think I ever really knew the weight of the term pain and suffering up until then. So I did what I felt at that time I had to do once the doubts seemed like absolute truths and I was living (unbeknownst to me at the time) every day in fear, anger and pain: I left all of my beliefs in God at the door.
The people I loved became the enemy, and I would argue back and forth that this God I served for years was nothing but words on a page. I let that little flame of anger spiral out of control, and at this time in my life it served its purpose of having people leave me alone.
Yet like I said at the beginning of this post, I realize now why my friends at the church that I considered part of my family became the enemy in my eyes so quick: they were the face of the God I was angry with. It gets pretty old pretty quick yelling and screaming and arguing with a wall or a being you cannot see or reach out and touch.So the people in my life, subconsciously, became the faces of God and something I could lash out at. Looking back now I feel terrible about my behaviors, even though they were all a result of my grief. It’s still no excuse, and I take full responsibility for my actions and words.
Christmas eve I ended up going back to the very church I left. Something inside of me wanted to go, and I gathered up the courage to get myself there and sit there during the service. It wasn’t awkward or shame inducing walking through those doors. All of the people I had left seemed genuinely happy to see me, and it made me feel happy knowing that my actions and words did not cause an irreversible damage. This past Sunday, I went back. It was the same thing with those people. I’m not sure what it is about that place or those individuals that drew me back in, but I feel as if it was almost a fresh start.
I feel like in 2015 I lost my self in the pain, yet in a weird way I also found myself. Yes, I am secure in who I am now and am continuously learning to love and accept myself for the woman I have become and am continuing to become. Maybe I am learning how to cope with the things that life throws at me in a more healthy way than I had my whole life. I still don’t know what changed in me over the past month or so, but being able to reevaluate some things in my life has been refreshing. To be able to look back and see some of the things I did or said and realize that I no longer want to hold onto that is something I never really saw myself capable of doing. Yet here I am.
There’s still a lot of beef I have with God, although I’m not so sure those are the right words to use. I guess I have more questions than anything else. Walking through the pain of my Grandma being sick and then dying made me lose a lot of my faith in God and it also raised a lot of questions in my life. Now, I sit back and try to clearly find answers to things I want to know, yet I have yet to have these things answered.
I’m glad I have reached this point in my life of being able to feel ok with having questions and wanting to actually work through these things in my life.