"When I contemplate God...I find only emptiness and silence. I feel alone, and I do not like feeling alone...I do not like this sense of God, this nothingness in which I now dwell. It’s dark and discomforting, and I blame it for my grey hairs.
"...As time passed, however, my faith weakened. I lost the feeling of God’s presence and the impetus to pray, and perhaps as a consequence, the ideas I had of God began to make less and less sense to me. I lost clarity of what I believed, finally confessing...that I couldn’t honestly say whether or not I still believed in God. This was not a confession that brought...peace. A cloud of unknowing separated me from the words of the creed I recited at Mass...To make matters worse, I had no answers to give...
I couldn’t explain my lapse. I couldn’t point to any decisive event, something that had pushed me off the precipice. Instead, as we reflected back on the previous months and years, I felt as though once solid ground had changed into the wisps of a cloud without my having noticed, and only now did I realize that I was falling. If my broken heart was to blame, it has taken its bitter time, acting stealthily.
I hadn’t fallen into unbelief or atheism, exactly, but more of an agnosticism or skepticism about what I believed and whether I believed. I could no longer say what my faith, such as it was, meant in my life. I no longer had a sure sense of how the Christian story was true. I couldn’t answer where its myths ended and reality began. Occasionally I shot a few words of prayer in what I hoped was the direction of an unseen God, but I struggled and doubted even these simple practices of my faith. Neither Paul nor Kierkegaard were kidding when they wrote of fear and trembling.
"For now I live with this uncertain tension between belief and unbelief. In a way, this tension opened up to me another way of being religious, one that oddly makes more sense to me. If God is infinite and ineffable, as my religious tradition says, then I have nothing against which to measure what anyone says of God. Without comprehending the infinite, I cannot assess a correspondence between what anyone’s scriptures say of God and what God really is. My Catholicism has given me words, but by its own teaching these words fall infinitely short of the realities to which they refer. With God, there’s no line between being and nothingness.
"In one sense, I feel trapped. Looking ahead, I see no exit from this tension unless I wholly abandon my faith. In another sense, I feel liberated. Living in this tension means that I can seek wholeness in my shattered existence without having first answered whether I have discovered or created the meaning that I find. Is God the name of a mere idol or the name of one who reveals? Is my religion the product of false consciousness or a conscious response to the true God? Is the universe guided by love or by indifference? I suspect these questions defy answer."