[personal profile] indeliblesasha

On January seventeenth of two thousand thirteen I stopped believing in God. Here are one thousand words precisely on what that feels like.


Giving up on God is a hard thing to do. I don’t mean that it is difficult, it’s not. Quite the opposite, actually – it was the simplest thing in the world, to stop believing between one stuttered breath and the next.

But it was hard. In the moment it was like standing in a room whose floors turned to glass with each step you took until you were afraid to move one toe further for fear there was nothing there. With time it became the dull ache of a dying tooth, loathsome and constant with the occasional flare of something hot and mean if you prodded it too hard. Later, an empty basket. It’s a sort of house-cleaning, the kind where you give some things away and toss out some others and shuffle a couple things more and suddenly! Excellent! You have an empty basket and a whole new space to put things.

Except you have nothing to put in that basket. And, looking around, you have no place to put the basket any longer, either. It’s no longer an exhilarating basket. It’s a sad and lonely basket that doesn’t even match the others because you bought it at a flea market in Half Moon Bay that summer you were visiting your best friend when she was experimenting with living in San Francisco. It’s kind of an ugly basket, now that you look at it. Someone very obviously tried to make it pretty, and put a great deal of work into it. It’s old and worn now, and never was very beautiful to begin with, but it felt necessary at the time and you can’t imagine being without it, anymore. But it serves no purpose. It has no place. And so you shuffle it around in the office, to the sewing room, in a corner of the bedroom…growing a little less sad and a little more bitter every time you have to move it, because it’s annoying and taking up space and has no home but you cannot just throw it away! It carries too much meaning, too heavy a history, even though it carries nothing of substance for you any longer.

And I suppose for some, God--like that basket--will find meaning and usefulness again. All of the classic quotations about being carried, and how much one can handle, mysterious ways – those things will once more be a balm to some, soothing and familiar. Much like I will eventually find a little corner of a shelf to tuck that basket, some little balls of yarn who have no other home will fill it.

I…don’t actually have a little mismatched and ugly basket on a shelf. All I brought home from that trip were seashells and a few photos and a lot of very lovely memories to match my new-found fondness for the city, and the beach.

But I do have an awful, little empty spot where I once believed in God, and haven’t found a good fit for something to refill it.

I believed for every moment of thirty-three and a half years that there was a higher power in the universe watching over us all. In moments that I hated God, was so angry I could scream--did scream--I knew that when I was ready He would be there and would fold me into His arms as I prayed. I was never alone.

And then, one day, in between one stuttered, shocked, painful breath and the next I knew that there is no god. There is no higher power. It is simply…not possible.

And now, now more than a year later I am carrying around this empty, ugly basket of nothing and still wishing it was full so I didn’t have to know just how ugly and empty it is. And I miss it. I miss my faith and I miss the god that I believed in, I miss the consolation my belief that I was never alone gave me. I miss the innocence that I once had.

It’s not just anger. I am not simply angry at God. I was. I was very angry for many months, paralyzed with it. Until the moment that set my impotent rage free: when I realized that there was no one to be angry with.

I find now, occasionally, that I retreat to the old bookshelf with the old basket in order to console myself with its contents and every time, every fucking time, I do get angry. Angry that I forgot that I emptied it. That it’s not where I last thought I left it. That it’s not, never again will be, can never be…full. And I wonder, just how long will I mourn the loss of that comfort?

It’s hard not having that old blanket of faith to wrap around my shoulders when I do not understand. “God has a plan” is a very solid and steady thought to have. You must simply keep trudging forward, you are never alone, God is with you and He Has A Plan. It absolves one of a great deal of stress. God will provide. God will never give you more than you can carry.

You must simply keep going because God is not done with you yet and you are still upright therefore God’s faith in you is absolute and you will continue on!

It is a rather more difficult to keep going under one’s own steam, did you know? Though I have found it to be a great deal more satisfying. It does, however, remain a great frustration that I cannot simply rely on my old consolations to get me through rough patches. I haven’t yet found my feet all on my own. I will - I shall persevere because I don’t know how to do anything else. But I shall do it for myself, not on the behalf of any deity that would have me.

I cannot believe any longer, no matter how hard I wish I could.

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January 2017


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