Sunday, June 15, 2014

Finally...someone else said it

The full article is here, the parts that resignate with me are here:

"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."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I don't even know you; I came across your blog I don't even remember how. but this resonates with me in a big way, and finally puts into words my thoughts and feelings that have been happening for almost a year now. I am a 53 year old female teacher in a small town in Utah who became a born again christian in my 20s. And now I don't know what I am, but I am beginning to get an idea, and that in itself is freeing!

Anonymous said...

I was raised Mormon. At some point (30 years into my life) I realized that hard work and thoughtful decisions could most often lead me to the results I wanted in life. After a number of hard years, I left the Mormon faith, despite the grave threats from the leaders of that church.

I have become something else, somebody new, somebody reborn and extremely different from the man I once was. I realize that my relationship with God is different than it was before. If (S)He wants to appear to me and have me become a believer, (S)He knows where to find me.

Otherwise, I view life as precious....to be lived fully and honestly. I don't find any happiness in organized religion but have found meaning in cultivating soil and farming. This hobby has become an outlet for the inner struggles of my heart....and my orchard/gardens are blossoming and growing. It's a sweet metaphor.

If I someday stand before my Maker, I will happily show the gardens I left behind....the sweat and toil that turned clay soil and brick-like dirt into an abundant garden. If that doesn't get me into Heaven, I'll happily go wherever such toil is acceptable as admittance. I do not (any longer) accept that religion led by man can get me closer to a Creator than honestly living my life and gardening. If anything, man-led religion separates one from his/her true purpose in this journey of life.

Good Luck, Carrie. We've never met but we know each other and I appreciate being a reader of yours. May peace find root in your heart/life and blossom.

Mark

A Therapist's Chair on the Zocalo said...

I am just continuing my theme of bafflement at all things related to technology. I don't know how to follow your blog, but I would if I could because I enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Carrie, those remarks make sense to me also. Mark, I also feel that my garden is near to heaven, although, on some days it could be the other place.
Lenny